Before the Comics Code Authority comics told stories. Yes, many were silly, some were obvious rip offs of others, but, in the main, they told stories. They tended to love America, wish all people were treated equal, and offered new ways to look at old problems. To be honest, they had problems too. Societal racism was a constant thing and comic creators were no more immune to it than anyone else. Some confronted it, others continued it. I could do an entire dissertation on race in comics and still not scratch the surface. But, after the Comics Code, any sense of nuance died. Any attempt to tackle social issues was shelved. For a simple example, Batman, in 1939, was a vigilante who killed and worked with the seedy underbelly of society to mete out a larger theme of justice. After …? Bang, zoom, pow. The Batman of the ’60s. [Read more…] about Stay Home and Ignore People
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!