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.