Marvel Studios

Joseph Gordon Levitt

Now that Marvel Studios has been wildly successful at turning some of their most popular comic book properties into hugely profitable feature film series, the publisher turned movie house is taking the next step in their development by trying to prop up one of their more off-the-beaten-path properties as the next big thing. Said property is a ragtag team of intergalactic superheroes known as the Guardians of the Galaxy. The team, which includes characters like Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, and Gamora, is going to be brought to the big screen by director James Gunn (Super) in a big budget feature that’s scheduled for an August 1, 2014 release.

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What is Casting Couch? It’s the movie news column that’s easing into Christmas with a cup of coffee and some casting reports. Let’s take this one step at a time. Marvel Studios is on such a roll now that any movie they make that ties directly into their upcoming Avengers 2 is going to be a big deal—even if it’s based off of a comic book that nobody’s ever heard of like Guardians of the Galaxy. So, the competition among young actors to get cast as the Guardians’ leader, Star-Lord, is pretty fierce. According to Variety, that competition has been narrowed down to two guys. The trade reports that Jim Sturgess is the sole survivor of the original crop of five actors the studio screen tested for the role, and Zachary Levi impressed so much playing the smaller role of Fandral in Thor 2, that Marvel is looking to give him a larger role in their universe by maybe making him the half-human, half-alien leader of this ragtag crew. Who would you find more believable commanding a gun-toting space-raccoon?

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Transformative technology. Fips. The Marvel Model disrupting superhero movies (and how it can survive alongside perpetual reboots). The literal death of film. Megan Ellison saving movies. The sleeper hits of 2012 and a great movie year for every kind of fan. Emerging independent funding. Fans saving shows with their own money. The digital horizon. Here at the end of the year (and the end of this podcast) I’ve asked FSR associate editor Rob Hunter, Cinema Blend editor-in-chief Katey Rich, Movies.com managing editor Erik Davis and screenwriter Geoff Latulippe (Going the Distance) to talk about the things that will never be the same again in the movie world after 2012. They’ve come through with some incredibly interesting answers. Plus, your view on what’s changing and a look ahead to the future. Download Episode #156

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Thor and Iron Man

The first two films to be released in Marvel Studios’ post-Avengers, second wave of interconnected films are Shane Black’s Iron Man 3 and Alan Taylor’s Thor: The Dark World. Through various rumor mills and casting reports we’ve already gleamed a lot about what these two sequels are going to be about, but today Marvel finally released official synopses of the two films, and have effectively removed any lingering doubts. First up is Black’s film, which the studio describes by saying, “Marvel Studios’ Iron Man 3 pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?” While all that stuff about Iron Man having to go on a quest that tests his mettle is pretty vague, that last line of the synopsis about the man making the suit or the suit making the man clearly supports the rumors that have surfaced (due to various casting reports) that Iron Man 3 would largely be taking its inspiration from Warren Ellis’ […]

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Agent Phil Coulson

If you’ve been wearing a black armband in tribute to Agent Phil Coulson since The Avengers opened last May, it’s time to rip the thing off, because you’ve been mourning a decoy. Well, we can ramp up the theory that we saw a Life Model Decoy stabbed to death by Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in the movie, but we’ll have to wait for the S.H.I.E.L.D. television series to know just how the character survived. Apologies to anyone who hasn’t already seen The Avengers (what’s wrong with you?) and has now been spoiled that Coulson is killed off, but now he’s alive again so I guess it doesn’t matter. At the New York Comic Con Marvel television panel today, actor Clark Gregg hit the stage and then was joined via video by Avengers writer/director Joss Whedon and Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige for the announcement that Gregg will reprise his franchise-connecting role as the lead on the show.

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AAA in Thor 2

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, in addition to having a name that’s fun to say, is also a seasoned actor with credits on beloved shows like Lost and HBO’s Oz. And, heck, he’s a big screen actor with credits in a few genre works like The Mummy Returns and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra too. So he’s probably the perfect choice to play one of the villains in Marvel’s upcoming Thor sequel, Thor: The Dark World. According to Variety, the English actor has signed on to the sequel to play the role of the vengeful and powerful Kurse. A look at Marvel’s in-house Wiki of all their characters explains that Kurse started off as a Dark Elf called Algrim the Strong, who served a master called Malekith the Accursed. After Thor came knocking on Malekith’s door to rescue an Asgardian woman that he had kidnapped, Malekith set Algrim on Thor and had the two do battle. Before a victor could be declared, however, the treacherous Malekith opened a chasm under the two warriors, sending them plummeting to their deaths toward a lake of molten lava.

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Today is a sad day for fans of manly movies about manly things, as it turns out two very different but very promising-sounding gritty crime movies have been put on the shelf. First up is Fox’s reboot of Marvel’s Daredevil character. Remember how Fox only has until October 10 to get a new Daredevil movie shooting before they lose the rights back to Marvel? The story is that they have a script that they like, which adapts Frank Miller’s fairly dark “Born Again” storyline from the comics, and they want Joe Carnahan to direct it, but they’re not really sure if they can get things developed before time runs out. Rumor had it that Marvel was willing to do some dealing to give Fox the time extension they would need to make the movie possible, but a new development is making it look like Fox refused to play ball and are likely to let the rights to the character lapse. The bad news comes from Joe Carnahan himself, who recently took to his Twitter account (as spied by ComingSoon) to tell his fans, “Think my idea for a certain retro, red-suited, Serpico-styled superhero went up in smoke today kids.” He then followed with, “We shall see. Time is NOT on anyone’s side.” The deal on the table was that Marvel wanted the rights back for a couple of its Fantastic Four characters in order to give Fox the extension that they need. Looks like the studio decided that maintaining their […]

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Ever since Marvel Comics created its own movie studio and started making its own movies, much ado has been made about the other studios holding rights to some of their characters. How long does Sony have the rights to Spider-Man? Will Marvel ever get to make an X-Men movie, seeing as they’re already tied up elsewhere? While those properties seem to be staying in their current homes, at least for the foreseeable future, there’s one character out there who actually is close to making a jump back home to the House of Ideas: Daredevil. Recently, Fox was trying to get together a reboot of the character’s adventures on film under the watch of director David Slade, but a few weeks ago he dropped out of the project. That’s bad news for Fox, because if they don’t manage to find a new director and get a Daredevil movie in front of cameras before October 10, then film rights for the character will revert back to Marvel, and all of their efforts to reboot the property with a more gritty, Frank Miller-inspired take on the material will be in vain. In the same report that announced Slade’s departure from the new Daredevil film also came the news that Fox had lined up a director for another of its Marvel-born properties, The Fantastic Four. Chronicle helmer Josh Trank is now in control of rebooting that franchise. But a report that came out of Variety today could have consequences for both his upcoming Fantastic […]

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Those with comic book reading experience can tell you that Marvel’s recent announcement that Captain America 2 will be released under the title Captain America: The Winter Soldier points to the fact that the bulk of the film will be concerning a Russian secret agent who has ties to Cap’s World War II past. And yet, a new report coming out of THR seems to prove that secret Cold War projects aren’t the only ground this sequel is going to be covering. According to the trade,  the prolific and under-appreciated Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker, Gangster Squad) is currently in negotiations to join directors Joe and Anthony Russo’s film as the character of Sam “Snap” Wilson, A.K.A. The Falcon. This is noteworthy news because – holy crap – the Falcon is going to be in a movie! For those that need a little background, the Falcon – who debuted in Marvel Comics in 1969 as their first African-American superhero – is best known as being an associate of Captain America, but he’s also an accomplished hero and a card-carrying Avenger in his own right. Growing up in a tough part of Harlem, Sam Wilson watched both of his parents’ lives get claimed by street crime as he was growing up. He tried to fight back against said violence by being a community volunteer early in his life, but eventually his anger over his upbringing allowed the all consuming criminal culture to corrupt his soul, and he briefly took a job […]

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Theme-matched perfectly to the week of Comic-Con, Marvel has unveiled more details about their upcoming mega-release of The Avengers and the films that preceded it on Blu-ray. It’s all part of The Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One, a set destined to become one of the most heavily sought after releases of the year. This week not only brings a new look at the set, seen above, but a look at the breathtaking individual movie sleeves with art by Matthew Fergusen. Check those out after the jump and please, clean up your mess when you’re done.

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There used to be a time when only die-hard comic book fans knew what Stan Lee looked like. His likeness appeared in many of the Marvel comic books for the 60s, 70s, and 80s, but to the average person, he was nothing more than a guy with some shaded glasses. Then Hollywood started putting the guy in some movies. He’s never had a very big part, but to honor the man for helping to create some of the most legendary superheroes (and some of the biggest moneymakers for the movie business), Lee has been given customary cameos in almost every major movie that has been made from characters he helped create. Those who have seen The Amazing Spider-Man (which should be most of you faithful readers, by now) were treated to one of his best and funniest cameos yet. And with more Marvel movies coming down the pike, he’s sure to show up many times again. This gave us a chance to look back on his many appearances over the years and assemble a list of his ten best cameos. Excelsior!

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Marvel Logo Collage

Well, we do know that it’s not Black Panther (and remember those heady weeks – er, days – when we thought that might be true?), and apparently we’re now on the Guardians of the Galaxy beat (thanks to a report from Latino Review last week), but without any full confirmation on what the upcoming “secret” Marvel movie is, we’re left to play with hard and fast facts. Like release dates. Box Office Mojo reports, in what is surely a bit of pre-holiday clean-up, that the still-secret Marvel movie has now moved from May 16, 2014 to August 1, 2014. And, just like that, we’ve got nearly three more months to talk about this thing. Over at /Film, friend o’ the Rejects and superhero fans everywhere, Germain Lussier prognosticates that this move is, in fact, a confirmation that Guardians is this next Marvel film. His take holds that a late summer date is a far better choice for an unproven franchise that will be a “harder sell” in the earlier summer months. Giving it an August date gives it room to breathe – and succeed. With Comic-Con on the horizon, we’re surely in for some kind of big announcement on the project, so sit tight, Marvel fans.

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When it was first announced that Disney had purchased Marvel Comics, the holy grail endgame of such an acquisition that instantly popped into every film fan’s head was that now the group of acclaimed artists working over at Disney’s Pixar wing could get their hands on a Marvel property and make an animated superhero movie that would blow everyone’s minds. With Pixar’s already full slate of projects and the murky details of who owns the film rights to which Marvel characters in what context, the idea was something of a long-shot, but when you get a couple companies under the same corporate umbrella like this and give executives the chance to start throwing around words like “synergy,” eventually anything becomes possible. The news that broke today isn’t quite that holy grail of Pixar making a Marvel movie, but it’s a team-up that brings us one step closer to that reality. For the first time ever, Disney is going to be making an animated Marvel movie. But, instead of Pixar, the artists handling this one are coming from that other wing of animators who work under the Disney corporate banner, Walt Disney Animation Studios. This is the studio that’s most recently brought us Tangled and Winnie the Pooh, and have Wreck-It Ralph set up for a release this fall.

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Last week, the utterly shocking news broke that not only was Warner Bros. pursuing a Justice League movie, but it also was in no way at all ever influenced by the unbridled financial success of Marvel’s The Avengers. We can all believe that, can’t we? After all, we read it on the internet. With Man of Steel coming out next year and a no-brainer Batman reboot coming now that Christopher Nolan’s movies are wrapping up this summer, this is an opportunity for Warner Bros. and DC to set a new stage. Plus, with adaptations of The Flash and Lobo, and the potential for a Green Lantern reboot, Warner Bros. and DC have things laid out for them to work out very similar to the pre-Avengers line of films. But this is Hollywood, and so many things can go potentially wrong with a project like this. Here are seven ways Warner Bros. can avoid a potential disaster as they develop this film series.

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A little over a week ago an Iron Man 3 set photo made its way around the Internet that had fans of comics scratching their collective heads. It showed what appeared to be James Badge Dale wearing the red, white, and blue armor that Norman Osborn donned in the recent comic book, “Dark Avengers,” where he performed superheroics under the name the Iron Patriot. This made no sense, as Osborn is a character that Sony has the exclusive movie rights to, and Dale was already reported as playing a cyborg character named Coldblood-7. The best theory we could come up with at the time was that the characters of Coldblood-7 and the Iron Patriot were getting merged for the upcoming film in order to create a fancy, new uber-villain – but it turns out this isn’t the case at all.

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Justice League Alex Ross

Sure, The Avengers being really awesome probably had a lot to do with the fact that it’s now the third most money-making movie of all time. But, more than that, the film probably has Marvel’s long term planning to thank for its extreme level of success. Instead of just making a movie about a team of superheroes, Marvel first introduced each member of the team in their own films, they dropped hints about the fact that they would all be coming together at some point, and, when it was all said and done, The Avengers finally premiered after six years of build-up and anticipation. That’s pretty unprecedented. Seeing as they own DC Comics, Warner Bros also has a fairly impressive stable of superheroes at their command. And they’ve even managed to leverage their properties into a bunch of successful animated television shows in the past. But, in recent years, the only character they’ve had any real success with in the live-action feature format is Batman. They’re not even close to doing something with DC’s premier superhero team, The Justice League, that could be on par with what Marvel did with The Avengers.

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Joss Whedon’s The Avengers capped off the supposed first phase of Marvel’s cinematic superhero domination in spectacular fashion. It currently sits as the third highest-grossing film of all time (not accounting for inflation), but more importantly, it’s a damn entertaining film. Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige recently laid out parts of phase two, which included sequels to Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man, but he also left two titles unannounced. Confirmation on those mystery titles will most likely come during this summer’s Comic-Con, but that hasn’t stopped the speculation. The Avengers 2 seems obvious. Ant-Man is high on fans’ wish lists. The Vision is absent on most polls. But now it looks like we know the identity of at least one of them, thanks to Latino Review. They broke this scoop earlier today which, judging by their past history, pretty much makes it official. One of the previously unannounced Marvel films is going to be…

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Seeing as the Iron Man franchise is coming up on its third film – and the first that’s seeing a changeover of directors – one might think that Marvel would be hedging their bets with it and lowering their expectations. How many times will audiences really keep coming back to watch Robert Downey Jr. playing the same snarky character? And even if the love for this take on Tony Stark can last indefinitely, will the loss of franchise launcher Jon Favreau in the role of director lead to Iron Man 3 being tonally different from its predecessors? And if so, how will Downey’s smitten audience react to going in for more Iron Man and getting something that feels unfamiliar? When it comes to an aging franchise that’s in the midst of creative turnover, one would imagine that a movie studio would start playing things a little bit safe. But seeing as The Avengers just came out and pretty much scooped up all of the money left in the global economy and became an international topic of culture conversation, that’s not the direction they’ve decided to go. Marvel heroes are the “in thing” right now, and their new-found level of relevance has led the studio to believe that they can do more.

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Now that The Avengers is a Hulk-sized hit on North American shores as well as overseas, the big question is what will Joss Whedon do next. As seen in this interview with Collider, the man appears to be pretty damn tired from this monster film that officially wrapped only a couple weeks ago. But Hollywood moves fast, and Marvel Studios moves even faster. Acolytes of Whedon are sounding the charge as if a revolution has occurred that makes the later seasons of his shows pale in comparison. The question is will Whedon be courted by the inevitable Avengers 2? Will he resurrect his TV series onto the big screen? Will Neil Patrick Harris be involved in any way? Here are the main options Whedon has before him.

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Every Girl’s Guide to The Avengers By Internet Princess Quartney Vagington Hey, gurrrrls! It’s your BFF Quartney Vagington! I’m gonna save your cute butts again, so get ready to thank me. Your boyfriend has probably looked up from his Xbox a couple times in the last week to say, “Dude, we gotta see The Avengers on Friday! It looks totally sick!” I know Trevor has! I just rolled my eyes and was like, “LOL, whatever you want, honey-bun,” and then I went back to texting. But guess what, bitches? He’s totes serious about it! Your boyfriend is too, unless he’s like a dork or whatever, in which case, ew, why are you dating a dork? Anyways, me and Trevor are gonna see The Avengers on Friday cuz it’s his turn to choose the movie, cuz he let me choose which Olive Garden we went to last week (the nice one, or the one close to Pinkberry), and so I was like, “Aah! I don’t know what these dumb comic book movies are about!” So then I was like, “Help me, Facebook, LOL!” And so then Facebook was like, “Here are some Tumblrs and Wikis about it!” So you guys, I totally did some research to help you know what the eff is going on when you see “The Avengers” with your boyfriend! You can thank me later, I accept Hot Topic gift cards, LOL. (P.S. if you do not have a boyfriend then I don’t know what to tell you […]

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published: 04.17.2014
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published: 04.17.2014
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published: 04.17.2014
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published: 04.16.2014
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