Thanks to the internet we know some things to be true. Specifically that Ben Affleck has been fired, or quit, and is no longer Batman. Except for the fact that he is, and is scheduled to appear in the next Justice League. We’ll get to why that is in a few. Other things we know is that Chris Hemsworth will never play Thor again. Except in Guardians of the Galaxy 3. And maybe in another Marvel film. There are no plans for a stand-alone Thor film, but that could be changed before my diaper. Suffice it to say there’s a lot of bad information out there. And, thanks to people needing to fill in blank spots with their burbling thoughts, it’s only going to get worse. There are, as of this typing, eight Marvel, and two Sony, movies slated for release with no information attached to them. Now, obviously, one will be a sequel to Venom. It made stupid money and, thanks to people like me who want to see it again, is doing steady biz as a download. The other Sony flik will probably be Morbius. It’s dark, has room for gratuitous violence and sex, and is a movie designed to make everyone who hated Twilight happy. That’s a potential fan base of billions. [Read more…] about Isn’t This Super?
The last few weeks have been kind of hectic here at the World News Center. We moved into a new casa, had all of the problems that come with that (were the fuck did we pack the spatula!?!), plus had obligations to our church and the general responsibilities of day to day existence. Suffice it to say there wasn’t much free time. That lack trickled down, as all bad things do. In this case it led to me not having time to write fun stuff for you to read. All was not lost, however, as I was able to still perform my weekly duties on WBIG 1280 AM for The Big Wake Up Call. And, as a bonus, I managed to confuse some people.
It’s hard to believe that once, not that long ago, movies about superheroes were so few and far between that any attempt to do the genre justice, no matter how lame, was heralded by fans as the best thing to happen to things in the history of things. And, as I noted before, those movies got co-opted by major studios, watered down, and turned into the movie franchises we know and love today. So far so good. I guess. At least the groundwork was laid for superhero movies to start tackling some real world issues. Wonder Woman managed to address, and then move past, the genocide of Native Americans in a single scene, but Black Panther hit the issues of racism and human trafficking head on and never flinched. To be fair to Wonder Woman it had a lot on its plate before the first scene was shot. Many were quick to dismiss a film directed by a woman, starring a woman, about a woman who is famously bisexual. That last part the film dealt with tastefully and with humor.
But now, thanks to the internet and proliferation of choices, an ugly subset of humans have reared their heads and seem determined to force issues that don’t exist. Mostly they want people to choose between Marvel and DC.
The theme runs like this; Marvel makes great movies for the whole family that tend to preserve traditional family values. You can also note that Marvel was the main bastion of white male heroes as an underlying theme there. DC, on the other hand, is a dark place filled with death and sexuality that should be forever shunned. DC’s whiteness is ignored in these cases for reasons I can’t fathom. It isn’t like Batman or Superman are minorities unless you want to stretch the illegal alien motif to its breaking point.
And this silliness isn’t happening in a vacuum. It’s out in the open on Rotten Tomatoes website and many others that allow fan interaction. Most have, to some degree or another, downplayed fan input to keep it from spilling over on their main pages. RT, for example, has no fan scores on its front page. You have to click the movie title to see those rankings.
Now, like all cliches, there is some truth there. Marvel espouses a lighter tone than DC. Marvel also uses the exact same color palette for every film. DC does not. Marvel marketed their films better than any other company, even before they tied up with Disney. And their marketing is consistent from film to film. Except for Black Panther, which caught a bunch of middle aged white guys with their knickers twisted. But they turned that to their advantage, so good for them.
However, there is one major difference between Marvel and DC that does not get addressed since doing so would add some much needed perspective.
Marvel released almost a dozen movies to introduce its universe. DC has, for all intents and purposes, released its universe and will now backfill in with character driven movies. Batman V Superman and Justice League were essentially one long movie to get all your favorites on screen. Marvel has done nothing with their villains but DC released Suicide Squad. While not an amazing movie by any measure, it did get the backstories and introductions out of the way for a slate of characters who will populate smaller films for years to come.
And, this must be noted, fans of DC have bought into this. You wouldn’t know it by the message boards but it’s true. The last five DC releases have earned well over two billion dollars. No matter how you cut that pie there’s plenty for everyone.
Marvel has earned more but, after Infinity War finishes, they only have two or three more possible tent pole films; Black Panther Two (assuming he survives Infinity War), Spiderman II (same caveat as Black Panther) and Captain Marvel. Antman & Wasp is not a major film, although I bet it’ll be a lot of fun. There’s nothing seriously planned for X-Men or Fantastic Four, Deadpool is slated to conclude its run after this movie, and Venom is going to be a hard “R” celebration of violence porn, which I will also enjoy. DC, on the other hand, has numerous films coming out that could each stand as a tent pole; Aquaman, Wonder Woman 2, Shazam, Batman, Cyborg, The Flash, Black Adam with Duane Johnson, the all female crime film featuring Harley Quinn, and, at least, four or five more.
In other words, the playing field is changing.
Okay, that’s a brief look at the business involved, let’s look at the franchises. It is entirely possible to like both of them. I do. My girlfriend, who is late to the superhero game as she never read comics, loves them all. Despite what you see online more people fall into this category than not.
Simply put, there’s no need to hate. The plan for each franchise is wildly different, and the execution of each, while occasionally flawed (I’m looking at you Iron Man III & Man of Two Million Killed), have given fans something they’ve been hoping for all along. a chance to see their heroes come to life.
Both franchises need to do more, much more, to embrace diversity and representation. And fans need to hold them to that. The good news is that fans are. They are doing so the only way Hollywood understands. With their pocketbooks. Little girls, and people of color of all ages, didn’t walk out of Wonder Woman and Black Panther, respectively, crying and hugging each other because there was a funny smell in the ventilation system. Those movies touched them, moved them, and promised more to come.
Hopefully much more.
And there’s another part of this that gets overlooked. DC has been building its television universe to the point that it’s now overflowing off of the CW and developing its own channel. Marvel’s attempts at television have yielded Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Defenders universe on Netflix. All great shows, but they need the cinematic universe to survive, at least by reference. The DC shows work as stand-alone properties. They even have their own Superman and no one blinked. Essentially they have a firmer foundation to build from. Thus they can bring Teen Titans to the screen, currently entitled Titans, and still have those characters appear in films with different actors.
DC, it should be noted, also has the best superhero cartoons out there. Marvel doesn’t even try anymore instead limiting its animation licenses to stuff for Disney’s kids’ channel. Fortunately there is no plan for Spider Babies or anything like that, but the shows do skew young and are brightly colored.
Whoo, that’s a lot of shit to parse. So what does it mean for fans?
Well, for one, it means there will be a hell of lot of superhero stuff they can enjoy if they can get off their high hobby horses and quit sniping. A boy can dream, can’t he? As for me, it means I’m going to be buying a lot of popcorn, continuing to ignore the trolls, and parking my fat ass in a comfy seat right next to my girlfriend to cheer on the capes and cowls as they appear.
The rest of you should try it too. It’s far less stressful and a lot more fun.
But you have to do it without my girlfriend. Get your own.
Last night The World News Center’s official girlfriend and I went to see the Chicago premier of Black Panther. I’ll tell you all about that in a moment. But, if you’re in a hurry, it fucking rocked, go see it. However, the one thing that keeps popping up is how AWESOME it is to have the first black superhero on the big screen starring in a movie. Obviously, somebody missed Blade. Now, to be fair, Blade was a hard “R” rated film that seemed like more of an outlier at the time than a movement. I’ve written before about how that’s a mistake, and what happened to it and other similar films, so I won’t drag you down that path again. Suffice it to say that many filmmakers have made successful films starring minorities, and comics have had black superheroes for decades, but none have hit the public conscience like Black Panther. The reasons for that are multitudinous, and I’ll touch on some of them in a moment, but the short answer is times have changed.
I have a friend (yes, I know, you’re shocked) who claims that Black History Month should be called Black Misery Month. She is an actual African-American. Born in Ghana and now a U.S. citizen. Her complaint is how the month is presented. We get the “slavery is bad” meme in various presentations, with no explanation of any of the underlying causes or the complexities that surrounded it and then we get either George Washington Carver invented the peanut (he didn’t and that’s a gross simplification of the many things he did invent), or Maya Angelou wrote about caged birds (an actual insult to her legacy). Basically, we get a few talking points that no one actually talks about and then we move on to getting drunk and pretending to be Irish.
Yes, I know I’m already Irish, but I’m speaking generically here.
Anyway, considering that Africa is the birthplace of humanity, the home of our earliest, and most storied, civilizations, and has been the focal point of some of the greatest military actions in history, you’d be justified in wondering how all of that got swept under the historical rug.
Short answer? Racism, power, and money.
Long answer? There are four year courses at major universities that haven’t nailed all that down. We’ll stick with the short answer for now.
Nevertheless, as I’ve noted numerous times, nothing lasts forever. Time marches on and each generation gains a little more traction than the last. Rights, once mere pipe dreams, become reality. I was six years old before a black person was legally allowed to marry a white one. Now, aside from the occasional miscreant, no one even blinks at that any more.
Which brings us to Black Panther. The film struck a nerve not even the filmmakers saw coming. When we attended the premier there were worries not everyone who showed up would get in. Some didn’t. Some showed up six hours early. Don’t get me wrong, movie premiers are often oversold and people line up well in advance to get in. But this felt different. For one thing, the crowd was far more diverse than any I’ve encountered at a premier. For another, they were far more well behaved. Usually these crowds are rowdy, giggling and giddy in anticipation, and peppered with the usual neophytes who claim to have deep ties to the people they may have once served coffee. I only counted one of the latter and not one person engaged him. The rest were anxious, but calm. They desperately wanted this movie to be good. They wanted it to live up to, not only the hype but, their dreams. They wanted a black superhero who could truly rival Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne. And Black Panther could be that hero. A character who has flaws, resources, and a heart that cares under it all.
Short story? They got it.
Your spoiler free review follows.
Black Panther picks up after Captain America: Civil War and manages to do so with only the slightest references to that movie, or the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is truly a stand alone film.
It introduces us to the world of Wakanda, the fictional home of the Black Panther, and all its intricacies and problems. This is a world apart from us. Hidden from us. A world that holds great power, and a world that could be perceived as a great threat. A world that has left its African brothers and sisters to suffer while it prospered.
Those aren’t your usual superhero movie themes and this movie tackles them head on. They are central to all that happens. The villain, Killmonger, neatly represents the world we live in and troubles we see. T’Challa, the Black Panther and king of Wakanda after his father’s death in Civil War, is the heir to thousands of years of tradition who faces a chasm leading to the future. One he can widen or bridge over.
He’s not a fan of bridges at the beginning and you can’t blame him. His father reached out to the outside world, got killed, and nearly enmeshed his country in a war of unimaginable ferocity.
So bridges aren’t a happy thought for him.
But the love of his life thinks otherwise. She has been in the outside world and knows, firsthand, how much good Wakanda could do if it emerged from behind its self imposed curtain. Oddly, and to her disgust, she finds her beliefs more aligned with Killmonger’s than T’Challa’s.
There isn’t a single point in this movie where any of these issues are soft pedaled. And, somehow, they still manage to infuse some difficult scenes with humor. Suffice it to say this is the first time I’ve ever laughed out loud in the middle of a scene involving human trafficking.
Trust me, it’s okay and you will too.
For fans of female characters I can tell you will be suffering an embarrassment of riches. The four, primary, female leads are wildly different, hold unique loyalties, and do not behave in predictable ways. They make hard choices and live with their decisions. In many ways they make this movie greater than anticipated. They, actualizing real women, facing real life decisions, bring Wakanda to life more than any super suit or cool tech.
Although the suit and the tech are fucking awesome so don’t feel like you’ll be cheated.
There is not a wasted frame in this film and you’ll walk about talking about philosophical, and social, issues just as much as you find yourself gabbering over the amazing visuals, chases, and explosions. Essentially, this is a film that delivers on every level.
It’s not the best superhero movie I’ve seen, it’s one of the best movies of any kind I’ve seen.
Or, as The World News Center’s official girlfriend said as we were leaving the theater, “when can we see it again?”
Once upon a time, on a dark and stormy night, super hero movies were rife with cliches. In the 80’s, even though both Superman and Batman had darker vibes, the growth was more in line with which color palette the director used as opposed to what story they could tell. In the 90’s movies like Darkman (1990), The Crow (1994), Spawn (1997), and Blade (1998), just to name a few, changed the landscape. Movies could be edgy, feature African-Americans as lead characters, have plots that required brain cells to follow, and still make money. Naturally major studios, primarily run by middle aged white men, reacted as expected. They co-opted the obvious stuff (violence, booze, sexual innuendo), watered them down, and made very white movies like Iron Man and Man of Steel, among many others. Not bad movies, mind you. They were wildly popular and well made to boot. But the diverse casts, the real world ramifications, and so on, were all gone. The old-school super hero narrative took their place and the world settled in for more of the same old same old.
Or so the studios seemed to hope.
But people, those creatures who pay for the tickets and the popcorn and the pops and the bad hot dogs and the rest, began to complain. They wanted the big budget coo-coo coolness applied to movies that encompassed all that nifty, and diverse, stuff they’d seen in the 90’s.
As movies like Suicide Squad, Deadpool, and Wonder Woman got made, and fans clamored to them, the studios came to a fascinating realization. They didn’t have to make one type of film or the other. They could make very dark films like Logan and, the critically acclaimed, Attack the Block, and still make popcorn monsters like The Avengers while making goo-gobs (not a mathematical term invented by Stephen Hawkings) of money.
It’s become a win/win situation for fans.
Well, except for Ghost in the Shell. That was a last gasp attempt at whitewashing a culture, story, and characters. At least here, at World News Center, we are praying it was a last gasp. Otherwise we envision a world where something like Malcolm X-Man, starring Jim Carrey, could see the light of day.
Your thoughts and prayers, along with your unicorns and rainbows, should go here to prevent that from happening.
Anyway, the nice people over at Collider – actually for all we know they could be members of a Satanic cult which survives by sacrificing kittens on 4chan, but they seem nice – have a list of the next decade or so’s worth of upcoming superhero related films. That is because they have given up on ever seeing daylight again.
Since you may not have that luxury, I’ll just focus on the next twelve months of their amazing research.
Release Date : February 16, 2018
Director : Ryan Coogler
Cast : Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira, Angela Bassett, Sterling K. Brown, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis, Martin Freeman, Letitia Wright, and John Kani.
What We Know So Far : The comics character made quite the impression with his first appearance in Captain America: Civil War , and he gets his own feature film not long after. 42 star Chadwick Boseman is filling the role of the powerful native of Wakanda, an African nation that is isolated from the rest of the world. Marvel says the crux of the film will be how this isolationist nation meets the world, so expect some friction. Selma director Ava DuVernay came close to signing on, but ultimately opted not to helm the film over concerns her artistic voice would be lost in the final product. Subsequently, Marvel hired Joe Robert Cole—who came up through the Marvel Studios writing program—to pen the script, and finally nabbed Creed and Fruitvale Station helmer Ryan Coogler to fill the director’s chair and co-write. He’s forging ahead with quite possibly the most exciting MCU film to date, and he announced his intention to fill out the cast with 90% African and African-American actors, establishing a fantastic ensemble with folks like Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, Danai Gurira as Oyoke, and his Creed and Fruitvale star Michael B. Jordan as villain Erik Killmonger.
The story of Black Panther will find T’Challa returning to his technologically advanced homeland of Wakanda after the events of Civil War , only to find himself drawn into a dangerous conflict with an old enemy.
Avengers: Infinity War
Release Date : May 4, 2018
Directors : Joe and Anthony Russo
Cast : Everybody
What We Know So Far : Marvel is finally tackling the Infinity War storyline, and it’ll take two films to tell it. The main antagonist will be Thanos (played by Josh Brolin), although he’ll be joined by his Black Order aka the “Children of Thanos” as subvillains the Avengers heroes will have to defeat first. Indeed, the film stars nearly every single character who’s appeared in the MCU before in what’s said to be a “culmination event.” Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War directors Joe and Anthony Russo direct both Infinity War and its untitled sequel, which are being shot back-to-back. Moreover, Infinity War was shot entirely using IMAX’s brand new digital cameras. No pressure.
Release Date : May 18, 2018
Director : David Leitch
Cast : Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Zazie Beets, T.J. Miller
What We Know So Far : While Deadpool director Tim Miller was originally supposed to return to helm Deadpool 2, he left the sequel in Fall 2016 over creative differences. Reynolds and 20th Century Fox subsequently set John Wick and Atomic Blonde director David Leitch to take over, but then came the long process of casting two major new roles. Domino, the female lead, went to Atlanta breakout Zazie Beets, while the casting of Cable proved as lengthy as it was complex. Names like Michael Shannon and David Harbour surfaced, and Brad Pitt at one point considered the role, but ultimately Josh Brolin is the one who signed on to play Deadpool’s favorite frenemy.
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Release Date : July 6, 2018
Director : Peyton Reed
Cast : Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lily, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Walton Goggins, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Peña, Randall Park, Judy Greer and Hannah John-Kamen
What We Know So Far : Evangeline Lily‘s Wasp will be the co-star of this film and not just the “female lead”, making this Marvel Studios’ first release in which the heroine is in the title. Plot-wise we don’t know much, but Michelle Pfeiffer is playing Janet Van Dyne, so we presume the story will at least partially revolve around heading to the Quantum Realm to rescue her. Meanwhile Walton Goggins plays the villainous Sonny Burch.
Release Date: October 5, 2018
Director : Ruben Fleischer
Cast: Tom Hardy, Riz Ahmed, Michelle Williams, and Jenny Slate
What We Know So Far: This Sony Pictures spinoff is intended to kick off a new loosely-connected universe of Marvel Comics adaptations, but Venom will not take place in the same universe as the Marvel Studios/Sony co-production Spider-Man: Homecoming . This is planned as an R-rated adaptation of the symbiote storyline, described as something of a twist on the horror genre, and Venom will be portrayed as an anti-hero with Carnage serving as the villain. The movie takes place in San Francisco and is primarily based on two comics arcs: Planet of the Symbiotes and Lethal Protector .
Release Date : December 21, 2018
Director : James Wan
Cast : Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren, and Willem Dafoe
What We Know So Far : Momoa made his first appearance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and will be part of the Justice League ensemble. Warner Bros. has enlisted Furious 7 and The Conjuring helmer James Wan to direct, and after attempting to fast-track this thing to production with multiple screenwriters writing separate drafts, Wan and DC Films head Geoff Johns convened, nailed down the story, and set Gangster Squad scribe Will Beall to pen the script. The ensemble cast includes Nicole Kidman as Queen Atlanna and Patrick Wilson as the film’s antagonist, Aquaman’s half-brother Orm.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix
Release Date : November 2, 2018
Director : Simon Kinberg
Cast : Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Alexandra Shipp, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, and Evan Peters
What We Know So Far : The sequel to X-Men: Apocalypse has been firmed up as Dark Phoenix , which will tackle the beloved Jean Grey story arc from the comics that was first broached (and botched) in X-Men: The Last Stand . X-Men writer/producer Simon Kinberg has penned the script and is making his directorial debut on the project, which also stars Jessica Chastain as maybe the villain Lilandra and is bringing back pretty much the entire main X-Men cast.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Release Date : December 14, 2018
Directors: Bob Perschietti, Peter Ramsey
Cast : Shameik Moore and Liev Schrieber
What We Know So Far : Sony originated this animated Spider-Man movie with an idea by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, with Lord penning the script solo while the duo prepped their untitled Han Solo spinoff. This animated feature will kick off a new Spider-Man franchise different from the live-action one, but the kicker is that the Spider-Man of this movie is the black Miles Morales, not Peter Parker. Which means we’ll get our first non-white Spider-Man in 2018. Dope standout Shameik Moorehas been set to voice Spidey, while Liev Schreiber is playing the film’s villain—although character details are under wraps. Schreiber, however, has teased that the film has a throwback tone.
The story finds Morales slipping into an alternate dimension populated by a variety of different Spider-Men—which is how Peter Parker comes into play.
Release Date : January 11, 2019
Director : Neil Marshall
Cast : David Harbour, Ian McShane, Milla Jovovich, Daniel Dae Kim, Sasha Lane
What We Know So Far : Hellboy creator Mike Mignola came up with the story for this new reboot as opposed to moving forward with a third film in Guillermo del Toro‘s established franchise, and Stranger Things standout David Harbour fills the role of the titular character for director Neil Marshall, who helmed The Descent and a couple standout Game of Thrones episodes. The film is loosely based the Rise of the Blood Queen arc with Milla Jovovich filling that villainous role, while Ian McShane plays Trevor Bruttenholm and Daniel Dae Kim fills the part of Ben Daimio. Oh, and this is 100% Rated R.
A couple of fun notes. Wonder Woman and Spiderman: Homecoming set records for an origin film and reboot, respectively, with films that avoided most of your favorite tropes and involved diverse casts without focusing on them (i.e., making them tokens). Black Panther, mentioned above, is set to blow both of them away on its opening weekend. Not combined, mind you, but we’re still talking nutty money here.
More interestingly, The Spider-Verse film, noted above, will feature a bi-racial, possibly bisexual, lead character in a cartoon aimed at younger audiences. And no one seems to be batting an eye. How much of that they will deal with in the film remains to be seen, but fans of Miles Morales, the new Spiderman, are aware of those details and will be looking for them.
Hopefully, please God, Hollywood will finally realize the future is here. The U.S. population will be fewer than 50% white people by 2050 (the same year that all chocolate will be gone from the face of the Earth if things don’t change – but that’s another story), and white people are already less than 25% of the world’s population. If you’re not marketing to the other 75% you’re an idiot.
And the white, middle aged, men who run Hollywood may be many things, some of them despicable, but they are not stupid.
It is very odd the places we find hope, but we do manage to find it.
Make sure to watch the video below for some more.
At the beginning of the month I took a look at the super powered TV shows that were coming to a screen in your home. And only yours. No one but you would be able to see them. Today, thanks to Adam Chitwood over at Collider, we’ll dumpster dive into the upcoming films. One thing I’ve done is remove all vague releases. Those are ones with assigned dates but no title, no cast, or just one cast member, and could end up being anything or nothing. One example would be the untitled film starring Ben Affleck slated for November 1, 2019. That could be the Batman solo film, the Nightwing Film, or something else entirely. I should note that there are a dozen or so dates held out like that between the primary companies making super hero movies. This list doesn’t even begin to contemplate supernatural or general science fiction films, which are another lengthy list all their own.
Just to give some sort of update here, so you can stop reading emails your Uncle Elmo keeps sending to show how hep he is, the following items are true; as of this writing Wonder Woman is the highest grossing origin film ever, Spider Man: Homecoming, far from being a bust, is now the highest grossing superhero film of the year. In other words, the market’s still there and isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
Anyway, as you plow through this chronological list, keep in mind that I haven’t added trailers since we live in a finite universe and you’ll, one day, need to get back to work.
So, without further ado, away we go!
Release Date: November 3, 2017
Director: Taika Waititi
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Mark Ruffalo, Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Idris Elba, and Anthony Hopkins.
What We Know So Far: The title most likely refers to the event from Nordic mythology in which catastrophic destruction comes to Asgard, submerging the entire world underwater and killing nearly every god. Marvel says the “Norse End of Days” is coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They tapped What We Do in the Shadows director Taika Waititi to take the helm, making for a very curious hire given his background in comedy. Cate Blanchett leads the villain charge as Hela, Tessa Thompson is Valkyrie, and Karl Urban is the villainous muscle Skurge, while the MCU is about to get a lot weirder with Jeff Goldblum as Grandmaster, one of the Elders of the Universe. The tone of the film is radically different from the previous Thor movies, and Hulk has a supporting/co-starring role.
Release Date: November 17, 2017
Directors: Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon
Cast: Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Ezra Miller, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, J.K. Simmons, Willem Dafoe, and Amber Heard.
What We Know So Far: Warner Bros.’ highly anticipated Justice League unites Affleck as Batman, and Adams as Lois Lane, along with Jason Momoa’s Aquaman, Ezra Miller’s The Flash, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, and Ray Fisher’s Cyborg. The villain of Justice League is Steppenwolf, who we saw Lex Luthor summoning in a deleted scene from Batman v Superman. As evidenced by the trailers there certainly appears to be a lighter tone, and the film will broaden the DCEU so far with J.K. Simmons as the new Commissioner Gordon and Amber Heard as Aquaman character Mera. And Cavill’s Superman is in the mix here somewhere/somehow. The film also marks a curious collaboration, as Snyder left the film during post-production to tend to a personal tragedy while Joss Whedon came in to oversee the final editing and to direct reshoots.
Release Date: February 16, 2018
Director: Ryan Coogler
Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira, Angela Bassett, Sterling K. Brown, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis, Martin Freeman, Letitia Wright, and John Kani.
What We Know So Far: The comics character made quite the impression with his first appearance in Captain America: Civil War, and he gets his own feature film not long after. 42 star Chadwick Boseman is filling the role of the powerful native of Wakanda, an African nation that is isolated from the rest of the world. Marvel says the crux of the film will be how this isolationist nation meets the world, so expect some friction. Selma director Ava DuVernay came close to signing on, but ultimately opted not to helm the film over concerns her artistic voice would be lost in the final product. Subsequently, Marvel hired Joe Robert Cole—who came up through the Marvel Studios writing program—to pen the script, and finally nabbed Creed and Fruitvale Station helmer Ryan Coogler to fill the director’s chair and co-write. He’s forging ahead with quite possibly the most exciting MCU film to date, and he announced his intention to fill out the cast with 90% African and African-American actors, establishing a fantastic ensemble with folks like Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, Danai Gurira as Oyoke, and his Creed and Fruitvale star Michael B. Jordan as villain Erik Killmonger.
The story of Black Panther will find T’Challa returning to his technologically advanced homeland of Wakanda after the events of Civil War, only to find himself drawn into a dangerous conflict with an old enemy.
Release Date: April 13, 2018
Director: Josh Boone
Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Maisie Williams, Alice Braga, Charlie Heaton, Blu Hunt, Henry Zaga
What We Know So Far: Writer/director Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars) has been attached to direct New Mutants for some time now, but 20th Century Fox has finally confirmed the film with a spring 2018 release date. The film is said to be both YA-esque and horror-tinged in tone, revolving around a group of much younger mutants in the X-Men universe than the adults from the proper X-Men movies. The story will also ditch traditional superhero costumes and supervillains in favor of telling a story about these young mutants locked up together in some facility. James McAvoy has been rumored to be reprising his role as Professor X in the film.
This will be the cinematic debut of Squirrel Girl. Click the link, learn all there is to learn about her, and get excited. She is, hands down, one of my favorite, and most fun, characters.
Avengers: Infinity War
Release Date: May 4, 2018
Directors: Joe and Anthony Russo
What We Know So Far: Marvel is finally tackling the Infinity War storyline, and it’ll take two films to tell it. The main antagonist will be Thanos (played by Josh Brolin), although he’ll be joined by his Black Order aka the “Children of Thanos” as subvillains the Avengers heroes will have to defeat first. Indeed, the film stars nearly every single character who’s appeared in the MCU before in what’s said to be a “culmination event.” Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War directors Joe and Anthony Russo direct both Infinity War and its untitled sequel, which are being shot back-to-back. Moreover, Infinity War was shot entirely using IMAX’s brand new digital cameras. No pressure.
Release Date: June 1, 2018
Director: David Leitch
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Zazie Beets, T.J. Miller
What We Know So Far: While Deadpool director Tim Miller was originally supposed to return to helm Deadpool 2, he left the sequel in Fall 2016 over creative differences. Reynolds and 20th Century Fox subsequently set John Wick and Atomic Blonde director David Leitch to take over, but then came the long process of casting two major new roles. Domino, the female lead, went to Atlanta breakout Zazie Beets, while the casting of Cable proved as lengthy as it was complex. Names like Michael Shannon and David Harbour surfaced, and Brad Pitt at one point considered the role, but ultimately Josh Brolin is the one who signed on to play Deadpool’s favorite frenemy.
And, no, despite many fans clamoring for it, there will be no sex scene, implied or otherwise, between Deadpool and Spider Man. Not that stating this fact will even slow down the Internet, but a scribe must try.
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Release Date: July 6, 2018
Director: Peyton Reed
Cast: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lily, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Walton Goggins, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Peña, Randall Park, Judy Greer and Hannah John-Kamen
What We Know So Far: Evangeline Lily‘s Wasp will be the co-star of this film and not just the “female lead”, making this Marvel Studios’ first release in which the heroine is in the title. Plot-wise we don’t know much, but Michelle Pfeiffer is playing Janet Van Dyne, so we presume the story will at least partially revolve around heading to the Quantum Realm to rescue her. Meanwhile Walton Goggins plays the villainous Sonny Burch.
Release Date: October 5, 2018
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Cast: Tom Hardy
What We Know So Far: This Sony Pictures spinoff is intended to kick off a new loosely-connected universe of Marvel Comics adaptations, but Venom will not take place in the same universe as the Marvel Studios/Sony co-production Spider-Man: Homecoming. This is planned as an R-rated adaptation of the symbiote storyline, described as something of a twist on the horror genre, and Venom will be portrayed as an anti-hero with Carnage serving as the villain.
Yes, the symbiote can extend its appendages, yes it can be a swirling mass of death dealing whips, and, NO DAMNIT, there will be no kinky sex scenes between the symbiote and anyone. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with you people? The R rating will be for violence and, maybe, a gratuitous boob like they had in Logan.
Release Date: December 21, 2018
Director: James Wan
Cast: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren, and Willem Dafoe
What We Know So Far: Momoa made his first appearance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and will be part of the Justice League ensemble. Warner Bros. has enlisted Furious 7 and The Conjuring helmer James Wan to direct, and after attempting to fast-track this thing to production with multiple screenwriters writing separate drafts, Wan and DC Films head Geoff Johns convened, nailed down the story, and set Gangster Squad scribe Will Beall to pen the script. The ensemble cast includes Nicole Kidman as Queen Atlanna and Patrick Wilson as the film’s antagonist, Aquaman’s half-brother Orm.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix
Release Date: November 2, 2018
Director: Simon Kinberg
Cast: Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Alexandra Shipp, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, and Evan Peters
What We Know So Far: The sequel to X-Men: Apocalypse has been firmed up as Dark Phoenix, which will tackle the beloved Jean Grey story arc from the comics that was first broached (and botched) in X-Men: The Last Stand. X-Men writer/producer Simon Kinberg has penned the script and is making his directorial debut on the project, which may also star Jessica Chastain as the villain Lilandra and is bringing back pretty much the entire main X-Men cast.
Untitled Animated Spider-Man
Release Date: December 14, 2018
Directors: Bob Perschietti, Peter Ramsey
Cast: Shameik Moore and Liev Schrieber
What We Know So Far: Sony originated this animated Spider-Man movie with an idea by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, with Lord penning the script solo while the duo prepped their untitled Han Solo spinoff. This animated feature will kick off a new Spider-Man franchise different from the live-action one, but the kicker is that the Spider-Man of this movie is the black Miles Morales, not Peter Parker. Which means we’ll get our first non-white Spider-Man in 2018. Dope standout Shameik Moore has been set to voice Spidey, while Liev Schreiber is playing the film’s villain—although character details are under wraps. Schreiber, however, has teased that the film has a throwback tone.
A side note here, there is a cut scene in Spider Man: Homecoming which would lead a dedicated viewer to assume that Miles Morales may make an appearance in a future live action film. The character who’s supposed to be his uncle does appear in the film so we shall see what we shall see.
Release Date: March 8, 2019
Director: Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck
Cast: Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson
What We Know So Far: Marvel’s first female-led superhero film will revolve around the most powerful character in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. This iteration of Captain Marvel will focus on the character of Carol Danvers, whose adventures are earthbound but whose powers are based in the cosmic realm. Joss Whedon wanted to introduce the character at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, but Marvel didn’t want to bring Captain Marvel into the MCU fully formed without first telling her origin story. Meg LeFauve (Inside Out) and Nicole Perlman (Guardians of the Galaxy) are writing the screenplay, and Oscar-winning Room actress Brie Larson has been set to star. And after a lengthy director’s search, Marvel settled on Half Nelson and Mississippi Grind filmmakers Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck.
This film will be a prequel to the MCU, taking place in the 90s and bringing the comics characters the Skrulls into the mix as the villains. That could have major repercussions leading into Avengers 4, but Captain Marvel will also give us a two-eyed Nick Fury.
The fact that some leaked footage got made into a full trailer, tells you all you need to know about how much fans want this movie to get made and get made well.
Release Date: April 5, 2019
Director: David F. Sandberg
What We Know So Far: Making his superhero movie debut, Dwayne Johnson opted to take on the role of the villainous Black Adam in this DC comics adaptation, but Warner Bros. has now decided to hold Johnson for a separate Black Adam movie, so Shazam will be all about that hero. Lights Out and Annabelle: Creation director David F. Sandberg is directing, and this is being planned as Warner Bros.’ next DCEU film in production after Aquaman.
Spider-Man: Homecoming 2
Release Date: July 5, 2019
Director: Jon Watts
Cast: Tom Holland
What We Know So Far: Nothing, but obviously Sony and Marvel Studios plan on Spider-Man: Homecoming launching a franchise, and Sony has already slated the sequel. Bolstered by the positive response to Homecoming, director Jon Watts is returning.
There is one thing to consider, at the end of the first movie there is a scene between the Vulture (Michael Keaton) and a prisoner named Mac Gargan, who has a scorpion tattoo (yes, fans noticed this). Given that the Tinkerer, the dude who made the Vulture’s gear, is still on the loose at the end of the first film it’s not hard to see him hooking up with the prisoner to give us a new villain for the second. And, as true fans know, Scorpion is a great villain.
Wonder Woman 2
Release Date: December 13, 2019
Cast: Gal Gadot
What We Know So Far: Very little, but Wonder Woman marked a major turning point for the DCEU with wildly positive reviews and massive box office, so anticipation is high. Negotiations are ongoing with Patty Jenkins to return to direct, and while rumors have swirled about a potential 1980s-set sequel revolving around the Cold War, Jenkins is said to be already working on a story treatment with Geoff Johns.
Release Date: TBD
Cast: Channing Tatum
What We Know So Far: Tatum has been keen on playing the X-Men mutant for a while now, and 20th Century Fox finally pulled the trigger on a standalone movie for the fan-favorite Cajun. Production had initially been slated to begin Fall 2015, but when it was pushed back to early 2016, director Rupert Wyatt abruptly dropped out due to personal reasons. Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow) subsequently signed on to direct, and while producer Simon Kinberg told us the film will be a heist picture and a “sexy thriller”, the film was pulled from its October 2016 release date and is now listed as TBD. Moreover, due to the delays, Liman has since departed to helm Warner Bros.’ Justice League Dark movie.
Educated guess here, I doubt this thing ever sees the light of day. This is the fourth iteration and it’s already kicked almost half a decade down the road. Gambit isn’t a tough character to get right so I have no idea why the girls aren’t getting the eye candy they deserve.
The Flash: Flashpoint
Release Date: TBA
Cast: Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Kiersey Clemons, and Billy Crudup
What We Know So Far: Miller made his brief debut in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but he’s a fully fledged star of the Justice League. After tasking Phil Lord and Chris Miller with penning a treatment only to see them head off to direct the Han Solo Star Wars film (and then leave that), the studio subsequently tapped Seth Grahame-Smith to make his directorial debut on the superhero picture. Alas, after the disappointing reception to Batman v Superman, Warner Bros. opted to change course and parted ways with Grahame-Smith, seeking to find a more established filmmaker in his stead. They settled on Dope filmmaker Rick Famuyiwa, working from Grahame-Smith’s script that was a buddy film of sorts between Flash and Cyborg. But after months of developing the project and with casting underway (Dope standout Kiersey Clemons landed the role of Iris West), Famuyiwa exited the project in late October.
This put the March 2018 release date in doubt, as it was dependent upon production getting underway in early 2017. Now, Miller is due to start filming Fantastic Beasts 2 in mid-2017, which would push production of The Flash to late 2017 or early 2018, meaning the March 2018 date is now pretty much impossible. Not to mention the fact that this movie still doesn’t have a director.
Some big names have been mentioned like Robert Zemeckis, and Warner Bros. announced at Comic-Con that this Flash movie will be an adaptation of the Flashpoint time travel comics storyline, which could give WB a way to reboot the DCEU somewhat.
Release Date: TBA
Director: Joss Whedon
What We Know So Far: Warner Bros. pulled Joss Whedon over from Marvel to write and direct a Batgirl movie. We don’t know much, but Whedon has said he may favor hiring an unknown or little-known actress in the lead role. But this one may be coming a bit later than intended, as Whedon is spearheading Justice League post-production through November 2017.
Given that there are numerous fan films featuring Batgirl, we are almost at the point where Warner could go and steal the plots from the uncopywritten flicks and just have at it. I should note some of them are fucking awesome.
Suicide Squad 2
Release Date: TBA
What We Know So Far: David Ayer definitely isn’t coming back to direct this sequel, and Warner Bros. looked at some intriguing names for his replacement. Mel Gibson was approached towards the end of 2016, but Warner Bros. eventually moved on and currently has its eye on Jaume Collet-Serra of The Shallows and Non-Stop fame to take the helm.
Suicide Squad was a bullet train on meth. I would guess they’ll slow things down a little for this one and let us get to know the characters a touch more.
Green Lantern Corps
Release Date: TBD
What We Know So Far: This will be a reboot of the Warner Bros. franchise so Ryan Reynolds is not expected to reprise his role — plus he’s also busy being Deadpool for Fox. Green Lantern is rumored to make his first appearance at the end of either Justice League Part One or Justice League Part Two when he warns the team that Darkseid is on his way to bring destruction to Earth. But the title of the reboot tells us this will be a team-up film featuring two Green Lanterns. Tyrese Gibson has been openly campaigning for one of the roles, as the film will find Hal Jordan and John Stewart in a Lethal Weapon-type situation. Warner Bros. recently kicked the tires on this one, hiring David S. Goyer (Batman Begins, Man of Steel) to co-write the script with Justin Rhodes.
No matter what I would sincerely doubt that Dex Starr, the super powered kitty version of Green Lantern, will make an appearance. Unless something goes horribly wrong.
Justice League Dark
Release Date: TBD
What We Know So Far: Warner Bros. has been developing an adaptation of Justice League Dark for awhile now, with Guillermo del Toro first writing a script a few years ago before departing the project. But with the DCEU now up and running, Edge of Tomorrow and The Bourne Identity helmer Doug Liman signed on to direct in August 2016, and then left the project in May 2017. WB is already looking for a replacement and is eyeing an A-List ensemble for the pic, which focuses on the DC superheroes with more supernatural powers as opposed to the bright and shiny heroes of the Justice League proper. The protagonists of Justice League Dark aren’t exactly antiheroes either, as the comics lineup has included folks like John Constantine and Swamp Thing.
For those who’ve missed it, the cartoon version of this film just missed an R rating. Since Batman, a rationalist, makes an appearance in the cartoon it’s not out of the question to think this is the new Affleck movie that didn’t have a name.
Gotham City Sirens
Release Date: TBD
Director: David Ayer
Writer: David Ayer
Cast: Margot Robbie
What We Know So Far: Shortly after the release of Suicide Squad, Margot Robbie put in motion a female-centric spinoff film that would follow her Harley Quinn and other DC characters like Poison Ivy. This one’s still deep in development, but it’s definitely on the table.
Yes, Harley Quinn & Poison Ivy have a sexual relationship in the comics. But, I’m sorry to burst your bubble here, if you think that Warner, et al, is going to spend $100 MIL on a soft core lesbian porno you’re sadly mistaken. I don’t care how carefully they prune the shrubs.
Release Date: TBD
Cast: Ray Fisher
What We Know So Far: Fisher was first introduced in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and will play a role in Justice League, and while a Cyborg movie was on WB’s ambitious initial slate, the status of the project is unclear at the moment.
I would tell you to watch for this movie to get pushed up a bit if the character resonates with fans the way it does in the Justice League trailers.
In any case, this should keep you busy for a while. See you at the movies!
An odd phenomena has been occurring in the comic book industry. Revenue generated by things related to comics, movies, merchandise, etc., has been steadily climbing for the last decade. But, and this is important, revenue from actual comic books have been in a steady decline. Both Warner Brothers and Disney have had internal discussions about spinning off DC & Marvel Comics respectively. Quite a large section of the internet has been devoted to what that might, might not, mean. A subset of that has been devoted to what it will all mean to Diamond Distribution, the monopoly of comic book distribution. But a funny thing has been happening on the way to the death of all things. Indy comics have been popping up and filling some voids. Unencumbered by massive overhead and puritanical restrictions, they have been finding wider, and wider, audiences. I have written about a few of these before, and am about to do so again today, and have found a willing market. Those posts get shared, and re-shared, around the world. David Gabriel, VP of Sales for Marvel, famously said the reason for declining sales was diversity. This would be news to the creators who are out there now. From my humble offering, Legends Parallel, which is rated M for Mature and features a predominantly African-American cast, to Valiant Comics’ Faith Herbert series, about an overweight telekinetic girl, to the indy Geek Girl comic series, which has to be read to be believed, to more than I have time to mention, a whole slew of creators are setting the bar high with excellent story telling, beautiful art, and more diversity than you could shake a stick at.
So let’s get this party started.
The Couch. Written by David A. Byrne & drawn by Matt Magill
There is so much fun, and angst, to unpack here it’s thrilling. Dr. Warren J. Lee, a very white man who keeps getting confused for Korean due to his name, is a shrink in somewhere U.S.A. He has issues that make him socially dysfunctional. Lots and lots of issues. He fires his secretary, who is also his girlfriend, via email. He deals with OCD patients in a way that borders on torture, and is up to his heiney in debt. He doesn’t even know how to bill a patient. To make his life even more chaotic I should note that he lives in a universe populated with super heroes. Naturally they do not make his life better.
If you like some dark humor, an occasional psychosis, and a plot that keeps zigging when you expect a zag, then The Couch is for you. Click the link to read more and buy an issue or two,
Jelly Vampire by Ida Eva Neverdahl
Jelly Vampire follows the adventures of a young girl named Lulu. That will be the only normal fact from here on out. When she plucks her eyebrows they turn into butterflies. When she puts hand cream on her feet, her feet turn into hands. She meets a magical being who can make her life wonderful and eats it. She meets fascists. She turns into a giant worm. She becomes a princess of a candy kingdom and ends up killing, and eating, everyone there. We won’t even talk about the unicorns. That is a whole series that will send you to Mr.Lee’s couch above.
Each of the episodes of Jelly Vampire is short and free to read online. If you need a reference point just think of the Far Side on acid. I couldn’t stop smiling when I read the preview edition they sent me and I doubt that you, faithful reader, will be disappointed when you check it all out.
Brother Bones The Undead Avenger by Ron Fortier
In the mood to hearken back to the glorious days if yesteryear? Are the classic comic books of The Phantom, The Lone Ranger, and others, what’s missing from your life? If so, I have some great news for you. Brother Bones is cut from the same cloth as those classics but takes it in a whole new, and fun, direction. The hero is a former mobster turned monk, thus the “Brother” moniker, who gets whacked at a monastery and, in death, is given the chance to save his soul. So far so good. But, to make it all work he has to take over the body of his mobster brother. Oh, did I mention his mentor in death is a young woman he killed? I really should. Brother Bones is non-stop action writ large in stark, black and white, images. It’s a great read for all ages and it’s a fun series to follow.
Check out all the issues of Brother Bones if you want to make your day better.
So, there you go, three wildly different comics to enhance your cool factor. Trust me, bust these out on the bus and you’ll be hipper than the cool kids and a a lot more fun to talk to.
I have no idea what’s happening in Russia right now but between the image at the left, which is an ad for an artist named Boby, and their superhero team, The Guardians, which is the most batshit crazy thing I’ve ever seen, they are clearly hell bent on taking over the world. The Guardians is the most Soviet thing you’ll ever see. Right down to the machine gun wielding bear. Never let it be said I didn’t hip you to new and exciting shit. If Russia isn’t your bag, and I can certainly understand why that may be so, then click THIS LINK superhero movies in Japan and other fun films involving dinosaur riding Nazis from the moon. That last group is an American offering. Go figure. But, for the rest of you, I give you this. Here are the upcoming superhero related shows that will debut from now through 2018. Thanks to Movie Pilot for the list.
Release date: 08/18/2017
Showrunner: Marco Ramirez
Cast: The Defenders unites the stars of Marvel’s Netflix shows, including Charlie Cox’s Daredevil, Krysten Ritter’s Jessica Jones, Mike Colter’s Luke Cage, and Finn Jones’s Iron Fist. The show will also feature Elodie Yung as the resurrected assassin Elektra, and introduce us to Sigourney Weaver’s mysterious villain, Alexandra.
Next up from Marvel Television, #TheDefenders is the hotly anticipated climax of all their Netflix shows to date. The eight-episode series will unite a ragtag band of heroes against the threat of the Hand — and a dark, dangerous figure that looms in the shadows…
Release date: 08/25/2017
Showrunner: Ben Edlund
Cast: Peter Serafinowicz will take center-stage as the Tick, with Griffin Newman and Valorie Curry as Arthur and Dot Everest.
Amazon’s live version of #TheTick — which has gone from comic to cartoon to live-action superhero series — is set to debut on August 25th. An underdog accountant will discover a criminal conspiracy, and find himself teaming up with a strange superhero…
Release date: 09/29/2017
Showrunner: Scott Buck
Cast: Starring Anson Mount as the silent Inhuman monarch Black Bolt, with Iwan Rheon as Maximus the Mad. We’ll also be seeing Serinda Swan as Medusa, Ken Leung as Karnak, Isabelle Cornish as Crystal, Eme Ikwuakor as Gorgon, Mike Moh as Triton, and Sonya Balmores as Auran. Ellen Woglom’s role is currently unknown.
Possibly Marvel’s most high-risk show to date, #Inhumans has been produced thanks to a ground-breaking deal between Marvel, ABC, and IMAX. The first two episodes will premiere on IMAX cinemas worldwide from September 1st, with the series airing from the 29th.
Release date: Fall 2017
Showrunner: Damian Kindler
Cast: Krypton stars Cameron Cuffe as Seg-El and Georgina Campbell as Lyta Zod. Other major cast members include Ian McElhinney as Val-El, Elliot Cowan as Daron-Vex, and Ann Ogbomo as Alura Zod.
Hot on the heels of Gotham, #Krypton promises to be a unique sci-fi superhero show. It charts the desperate attempts to save the doomed world of Krypton — and we’ve been promised some surprise guest-stars. In an exciting twist, it seems Krypton is the only DCTV show to actually be set in the #DCEU!
Release date: 09/21/2017
Showrunner: Bruno Heller
Cast: Gotham stars Ben McKenzie as Commissioner Gordon, with David Mazouz as the young Bruce Wayne and Camren Bicondova as Selena Kyle. Other key figures include Sean Pertwee’s Alfred, Robin Taylor’s Penguin, and Cory Michael Smith’s Riddler.
Darker and grittier than your standard DC fare, #Gotham is the story of Batman before he was Batman. By all accounts, Season 4 is going to be an important chapter in the life-story of David Mazouz’s young Bruce Wayne, as he takes some major steps on the road to becoming the Dark Knight.
Release date: 10/02/2017
Showrunner: Tom Kapinos
Cast: Lucifer stars Tom Ellis as the titular figure, with supporting cast including Lauren German as Chloe Decker and Lesley-Ann Brandt as Mazikeen.
#Lucifer is returning for a super-sized third season, with four episodes migrating into Season 3. Let’s face it, Lucifer adds a tremendous sense of range to the network superhero TV shows — it’s one of the few to dive deep into the idea of magic and mysticism!
Release date: 10/02/2017
Showrunner: Matt Nix
Cast: The Gifted focuses in on the Strucker family: Reed (Stephen Moyer), Caitlin (Amy Acker), Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind), and Andy (Percy Hynes White). Confirmed X-Men include Blink (Jamie Chung), Polaris (Emma Dumont), and Thunderbird (Blair Redford).
The continuity of the #XMen universe is a thing of mystery, so we don’t yet know whether or not #TheGifted is actually part of the same universe as any of the films. Whatever the truth may be, though, Matt Nix’s show promises to dive straight into the heart of the mythos — in a world that hates and fears mutants.
Release date: 10/09/2017
Showrunner: Andrew Kreisberg, Jessica Queller and Robert Rovner
Cast: Melissa Benoist takes center-stage as Supergirl, with Chyler Leigh as Alex Danvers, Mehcad Brooks as Jimmy Olsen, and David Harewood as the Martian Manhunter. We can expect to see more of Tyler Hoechlin’s Superman, while Calista Flockhart is returning as a series regular for Season 3.
Nobody was surprised to hear that #Supergirl had been renewed for a third season: it’s one of the most successful superhero TV shows around! Melissa Benoist has captured our hearts as the Girl of Steel, even if the close of Season 2 has given poor Kara Danvers yet another dose of tragedy. Where will the show go from here?
Release date: 10/10/2017
Showrunner: Greg Berlanti
Cast: Grant Gustin plays the scarlet speedster, with supporting cast including Danielle Panabaker’s Killer Frost, Candice Patton’s Iris, Jesse L. Martin’s Joe West, and Carlos Valdes’s Sisco.
Season 3 of #TheFlash ended with a bang and with an unexpected departure, leaving Team Flash in quite a predicament. By all accounts we’re about to see the Scarlet Speedster enter a season with a villain who isn’t a fellow speedster; comic book villain Devoe, a.k.a. The Thinker, was teased throughout The Flash Season 3, so expect at least a passing appearance from him.
Legends Of Tomorrow
Release date: 10/10/2017
Showrunner: Phil Klemmer
Cast: With hints that the cast is about to change significantly — we’ll have to wait and see!
After a tremendous Season 2 finale, what’s next for #LegendsOfTomorrow? Unlike the rest of the #Arrowverse, this is one show that doesn’t mind killing characters off (although, given the concept of time-travel, that doesn’t rule out their returns). Showrunner Phil Klemmer has been teasing that we can expect the team to change shape in Season 3, and the only thing that has to remain is the Waverider. Season 3 is due to air an hour later, showing immediately after The Flash, so it’s going to be interesting to see if it gets a little darker.
Release date: 10/12/2017
Showrunner: Marc Guggenheim
Cast: Arrow stars Stephen Arnell as Green Arrow, with recurring cast including Emily Bett Rickards’s Felicity, Colton Haynes’s Roy Harper, and John Barrowman’s Malcolm Merlyn.
Although every year is the beginning of a new story for the flagship #DCTV series #Arrow, that’s especially the case for Season 6. After all, the five years of island flashbacks have come to an end, meaning the show has to take a slightly different approach. With the show moving to a later time slot, will it get even darker?
Showrunner: Steve Lightfoot
Cast: The Punisher sees Jon Bernthal reprise his famous role, while Deborah Ann Woll returns as Karen Page. It’s also set to introduce us to Ebon Moss-Bachrach’s Micro.
Jon Bernthal is reprising his role as the widely acclaimed #Punisher, and he’s sure to cut a bloody swathe through the Marvel Universe’s criminal underworld! One of the show’s directors recently let slip that it’s due to stream in November.
Release date: 11/21/2017
Showrunners: Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage
Cast: Boasting a massive cast, the heroes are Rhenzy Feliz (Alex Wilder), Lyrica Okano (Nico Minoru), Virginia Gardner (Karolina Dean), Ariela Barer (Gert Yorkes), Gregg Sulkin (Chase Stein), and Allegra Acosta (Molly Hayes).
How many kids have thought their parents were evil? Brian K. Vaughan’s dearly-loved #Runaways told the tale of a group of teenagers who learned that their parents were actually super-villains — and it only got more dramatic from there!
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Release date: 11/24/2017
Showrunners: Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen
Cast: Starring Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson and Chloe Bennet’s Quake, the cast is rounded out by Ming-Na Wen’s Agent May, Elizabeth Henstridge’s Simmons, Iain De Caestecker’s Fitz, Henry Simmons’s Mack, and Natalia Cordova-Buckley’s Yo-Yo.
#AgentsOfSHIELD has been renewed for a fifth season, and many fans fear this will be the end of the line for Coulson and his team. ABC President Channing Dungey recently revealed that the series will begin airing “right after” the 8-episode-long Inhumans, meaning we can expect the show to return on November 24th. It’s expected to air its 22-episode-season mostly uninterrupted, which means we’re likely to see an explosive tie-in with Avengers: Infinity War — not least because Season 4 closed with a tease that the show is heading to space!
Release date: Fall 2017
Showrunner: Greg Berlanti
Cast: Starring Cress Williams as the main man, the show also features China Anne McClain and Nafessa Williams as Black Lightning’s daughters and Christine Adams as his ex-wife.
Recently receiving a full series order, The CW’s #BlackLightning is believed to stand apart from the Arrowverse. A first trailer promises a superhero show that’s a lot grittier than the standard CW fare, so we’re eagerly awaiting further details!
Release date: February 2018
Showrunner: Noah Hawley
Cast: Expect familiar faces, including Dan Stevens’s David Haller, Rachel Keller’s Syd, Jean Smart’s Melanie Bird, Katie Aselton’s Amy Haller, and — of course — Aubrey Plaza’s sinister Shadow King.
The first season was head-spinning and trippy in the extreme, but we’ve now learned what to expect from Noah Hawley’s #Legion. Season 1 ended on a cliffhanger, with David imprisoned by a mysterious force, and the Shadow King loose once again. One thing’s for sure with Legion, though; you won’t ever be able to predict which direction this show will take.
Cloak and Dagger
Release date: 2018
Showrunner: Joe Pokaski
Cast: Olivia Holt and Aubrey Joseph star in this intriguing new show.
One of Marvel’s more surprising new shows, #CloakAndDagger is clearly being geared up as one of Freeform’s flagship shows. It promises to blend superhero action with teenage angst in all the best ways!
Release date: 2018
Showrunner: Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez
Cast: Charlie Cox returns as Daredevil, and we can expect Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page and Elden Henson as Foggy.
The flagship of Marvel’s Netflix shows, #Daredevil Season 3 was teased at last year’s SDCC — but won’t arrive until next year. It’s going to be interesting to see how The Defenders changes Matt Murdock’s status quo.
Release date: 2018
Showrunner: Melissa Rosenberg
Cast: Expect Krysten Ritter’s Jessica Jones and Rachael Taylor’s Patsy Walker to return, while there are good odds Wil Traval’s Nuke will play a major role.
The first season of #JessicaJones was a dark, brooding psychological drama. Now that Kilgrave’s out of the way, though, the show’s going to have to adapt as Jessica Jones faces a new threat — and works to solve the mystery of her own powers.
Release date: 2018
Showrunner: Cheo Hodari Coker
Cast: Mike Colter’s Luke Cage returns, but we really don’t know much about the series’ secondary characters to date.
Rounding out next year’s Marvel Netflix shows, #LukeCage will see Mike Colter reprise his role as the hero of Harlem. As the timeline of the Marvel Netflix shows relentlessly advances nearer to the events of Captain America: Civil War, though, Luke Cage’s superhero life is surely about to get a lot more complicated!
Release date: 2018
Showrunner: Unknown, but there are strong rumors Kevin Biegel is near a deal to sign up as showrunner
Mixing up the Marvel range all the more, #NewWarriors promises to be a teenage comedy about a young group of wannabe heroes. In a move that indicates the youthful target demographic, Marvel has blended the original comic book concept with the unbeatable Squirrel Girl!
Release date: 2018
Showrunner: Greg Berlanti
Cast: Brenton Thwaites as Dick Grayson a/k/a Robin a/k/a Nightwing, Anna Diop as Starfire and Teagan Croft as Raven
Launching DC’s OTT range, #Titans promises to bring the fan-favorites to life! We don’t yet know much about the project, so keep your eyes peeled for details…
Release date: Unknown (possibly 2018)
Showrunner: Raven Metzner
Cast: Finn Jones is reprising the starring role of Iron Fist, joined by Jessica Henwick’s Colleen Wing and Simone Missick’s Misty Knight
#IronFist Season 1 may have been panned by the critics, but it was a ratings success. As a result, at #SDCC2017 Marvel announced a second season, but switching things up by replacing showrunner Scott Buck with Raven Metzner, a martial-arts fan who’s best known for Sleepy Hollow. Filming is due to start later this year, raising the intriguing possibility that we may get four Marvel Netflix shows next year!
Researching, and then writing, every article up here is a time consuming process. Not only do we verify the links we post here, we ensure that any links contained in the original articles we cite also lead readers to credible sources and not just some blog run by an intellectually challenged penguin. additionally, we answer all emails from readers and people who listen to my weekly guest shot on The Big Wake Up Call. Follow that up with the fact that I’m a professional sci-fi writer, and you can see how time could get a little crunched. And yet we persist. Not for any grand mission but because it’s fun. And part of that fun is finding new creators to share with you. And you. And, of course, you. We could never forget you.
But not you. You’re creepy.
Everyone else is welcome to continue reading.
The first thing you want to check out is The Spatial Shard by G. Russell Gaynor. It’s the prelude to the Edgeworld Series and it’s a rocking good read. Starting with a prison break, where readers have no clue who the good or bad guys are, or even what species, the book essentially starts in the middle of the story and then works its way back from there. It’s a fun technique and a great way to introduce readers to this universe.
The best thing about The Spatial Shard is that it, unlike many contemporary YA books, doesn’t talk down to its readers. It may not delve into the science behind its worlds but neither does it avoid some harsh truths characters are forced to face. For example, Imogene Amanda Schultz a/k/a Genie, has to deal with a mom who keeps redefining what it means to be dead, all while trying to come to grips with the titular shard who has embedded itself in her brain. Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention her little brother being a border line ninja and a slew of really nasty people who want what’s inside her.
In the tried and true tradition of YA novels the book focuses on a group of kids who grow, and learn, together. That is about the only traditional thing about it. The multi-verse it explores is fascinating. The ramifications of it are a great prelude for what’s to come in future books. And, best of all, the villains operate in gradations of gray. There may be hope for them yet. Or not. We’ll all just have to keep reading to find out.
Click the link above to get your copy and join Genie and her friends on their exciting journey.
Next on your list should be Super Ready Battle Armor by Bradley Adan & Michael Milham. This comic book series is a fascinating mix of old and new. The art hearkens back to the glory days of Love and Rockets while the story telling weaves between surrealism based messianic and urban angst.
The book starts out by introducing us to a neat dude named Infector, Fector to his friends, and a bizarre scientist named Professor Insanus. Infector has the ability to see how much life people have left. Later, after a brutal fight leaves his best friend, B. A., dead in an alley we are introduced to other abilities he has. I won’t give away the ending but Fector is forced to make some life changing choices on his own behalf and on the unwilling behalf of others.
Super Ready Battle Armor is a pleasant surprise all around. The characters are well written and interesting and the art is engaging and edgy. Click on the link above to make new friends and order your copy.
If you’re looking for even more, amazingly cool, indy stuff to make your world better, and all your neighbors jealous, just click here to check out other comics and novels we’ve reviewed.
We’ll delve back into science and stuff later. For now, check out these talented new creators and feel better about yourself.
I understand the allure of shopping at big box joints. You know what you’re getting, you know the price will be cheap, and you’re not all that concerned about quality. You also end up in long lines, have the exact same product everyone else has, and, when all is said and done, have purchased a thing that will have no meaning beyond the immediate gratification. Kind of like fast food, but with slightly more health benefits. Today I’d like to offer you an alternative to that. You won’t even need to get out of your Barca Lounger. You can support independent artists simply by having an internet connection. And, bonus, you’ll look smarter, and be cooler, than all your neighbors when you’re done.
This Might Hurt a Bit – Steve Silver
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Steve since before God lost his tennis shoes. Folks have been hectoring him to write his many stories out in a book and now he has. While, ostensibly, a book about being a bouncer, it is far more than that. He tells the story of what it was like growing up poor, living with a divorced mom when such a thing was still a scandal, and how he came through it all knowing how to knock your fucking teeth out or give you a hug, depending on the situation. Steve’s style is as raw as the stories. Absolutely worth your time.
Paintings by Graham Elvis
Besides being a founding member of, internationally renowned pop icons, The Elvis Brothers, Graham is also a visual artist worthy of your attention. Vibrant pop-scapes layered with meaning are a fine addition to any home.
Hybrid Zero by Cyril Brown
Called the “last web comic you’ll ever need,” Hybrid Zero is an eye popping blast into the future you always feared, but secretly hoped, could exist. Rude, raunchy, and beautiful, this is exactly the kind of artistic product the internet was built for.
Clarity Girl by Chris Thomasma
Yes, I wrote some of the stories attached to this comic book series, but those are a small part of the universe Chris is creating. Clarity Girl is a wonderful way to introduce younger readers to an exciting adventure built around diverse characters who love, and respect, each other. Plus, it’s got giant robots. What more could you ask for?
Apparel by Crixtopher Edwin Uregbu
Crixtopher is a young, South African, artist who has combined his talents with a keen, commercial, instinct. His work is both eye catching and meaningful. He is using the money he earns to put his way through college, just like that stripper your dad likes but for real this time, and manages to highlight social issues along the way without being preachy. You’ll be the best dressed person this holiday if you grab one of his shirts. and, I guarantee you, no one else will even try to out-cool you.
Out of the Wreck I Rise: A Literary Companion to Recovery – Neil Steinberg & Sara Bader
Addiction takes many forms and is often relegated to some dirty secret families are loathe to discuss. Steinberg, a popular columnist at the Chicago Sun Times, and Bader, creator of Quotenik.com and an editor for the Princeton Architectural Press, craft a book woven with stories and quotes from those who’ve been through it. Most notably Steinberg himself. If you, or someone you know, is working through recovery this book can help you on the journey with a combination of laughter, honest insights, and gut punching clarity.
Isle Squared Comics
This company, founded by Chuck Amadori, is dedicated to sexy, surreal, comics. I’ve reviewed Pale Dark, Bang Bang Lucita, Tether, and Empress and have only scratched the surface. With taut writing, and art that more resembles paintings than comics, there isn’t a bad issue here. If you like your titillation both visual and visceral, this is the place for you.
Art by Shay Jones
A popular, and widely sought, vocalist, Shay has also made a name for herself creating sculpted paintings and other works of art. Her personal creations tend to be expressions of her deep faith and are the kinds of things which make you feel better about being a human no matter your beliefs. She also accepts custom commission requests.
Goth and Glam never died. They just went to Alabama to spark an underground revolution. Delinquent has been pushing edges since 1986 and shows no signs of letting up. Pretty much any band with long hair and lipstick has made its way onto their roster at one point or another. With a deep catalog, and continuing new releases, they can satisfy all those urges you never knew you had.
Home to a style of music where punk, country, soul, pop, bluegrass, blues and rock n roll mix and mingle and mutate (their words), Bloodshot has been the place to go if you’re looking for innovative music created by amazing musicians. Impress your friends, quash your enemies, and enjoy some of the coolest shit around.
EZYWRK Music Group
If you’re like me, although the odds are you aren’t, you’re tired of boring hip hop. The nice people at EZYWRK agree. I first discovered them a couple of years back when they began working with, Chicago’s very own, Kidd Bode, and have been stalking everything they do ever since. From hardcore rap to pop influenced hip hop, they bring a breath of fresh air to every release. If you want to be a fan of rap again click their link.
I’m not going to list individual bands since that would take years and I’d still end up missing someone. Instead the labels I’ve posted have deep, indy, roots and solid connections to Chicago’s music scene. You can’t go wrong by supporting them or any of the other creators I’ve listed above.
Oh well, as long as you’re still here, I may as well throw my hat into the ring. In 2015 I made the conscious decision to be more than a blogger, and occasional article dude, and delve, full time, into writing. Why not? I’d lost my job, my home, and pretty much everything else I could think of. It seemed like a good time to try something new. Obviously something old wasn’t working. So I jumped into the deep end and managed to stay afloat. Along the way I’ve managed to write everything from a children’s story to some of the most disturbing sci-fi around.
And there’s more on the way. Personal bonus? I found a girlfriend by impressing her with my throbbing brain. Much to my surprise life is pretty damn good. In other words, you can now wander over to Bill McSciFi, yes – that’s really the name of my site, and read short stories for free, buy other stuff I hope you’ll like, and get to know a little bit more about my literary side.
So there you go. A great way to support independent artists of all stripes without having to put on pants. If even that much effort is too much for you, just send me your credit card and I’ll take care of the rest.
I’m kidding. Don’t send me your fucking card. I’d just use it for stupid shit like food and you wouldn’t have the gifts you so sorely need.
Happy Chrismahanukwanzakah Ya’ll!
Photo from the shoot that brought us Rudy Ray Moore’s This ain’t No White Christmas.
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