The senses-shattering news that Disney, home to Marvel Studios, has acquired 20th Century Fox‘s library was met with elation by many comic book fans, but the blockbuster deal also struck fear into the hearts of some, who worried that the family-friendly brand would neuter Deadpool’s famously NSFW aesthetic and turn the foul-mouthed and bloody murderer into someone acceptable at a small child’s tea party.
While not a promise, it sounds like Disney is at least willing to consider releasing R-rated superhero movies like Deadpool and Logan in the future — as long as they are segregated from the PG-13 heroes and the kiddie stuff.
The Walt Disney Company has announced that it is acquiring 21st Century Fox‘s film and television studios, cable entertainment networks and international TV businesses for $52.4 billion dollars.
But forget all that financial babble — all comic book fans want to know is: When will the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool be reunited with the House of Ideas? Well, it’s certainly going to happen, as Disney’s release stipulates:
“The agreement also provides Disney with the opportunity to reunite the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool with the Marvel family under one roof and create richer, more complex worlds of inter-related characters and stories that audiences have shown they love.”
Just about every Star Wars fan has Dec. 18 circled on the calendar as the release date for J.J. Abrams‘ Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens, but what will happen after that? Well, there’s the mysterious standalone movie slated for Dec. 16, 2016. But then what?
Thanks to Disney’s annual shareholders report, we now know for sure that Star Wars: Episode VIII (directed by Rian Johnson) will be released in 2017 and Episode IX (probably also to be directed by Johnson) in 2019.
If unknown actors are cast in undisclosed roles, does the announcement constitute “news”? Probably not, but we will pretend it matters because of the movie they have been cast in: Lucasfilm and Disney yesterday announced the casting of newcomers Crystal Clarke and Pip Andersen in two unrevealed roles in Star Wars: Episode VII.
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement:
The Star Wars universe has always been about discovering and nurturing young talent, and in casting Episode VII we wanted to remain absolutely faithful to this tradition. We are delighted that so many travelled to see us at the open casting calls and that we have been able to make Crystal and Pip a part of the film.
I’m pretty sure that acting legends Sir Alec Guinness and Peter Cushing might take exception to Kennedy’s assertion, but I think we get what she meant: Very few people had heard of Mark Hamill before the original Star Wars.
Celebrated indie director Rian Johnson – known for his time-travel action film Looper, starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as well as Brick – has been chosen by Disney to direct the next two Star Wars sequels, Episode XIII and IX. He will also script XIII and write at least a treatment for Episode IX if not the actual screenplay.
This move reinforces the trend of choosing bright young directors on the rise to rebuild Lucasfilm’s franchise, such as the previously announced Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) and Josh Trank (Chronicle, Fantastic Four), who will oversee so far unspecified spin-off movies.
With Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier mowing down the competition at the box office, the already-greenlit Captain America 3 looks like a total no-brainer — however, Disney studio execs cannot resist overthinking things, and talking about it may just undercut the 2016 event film before it even starts shooting.
Disney may have done what no supervillain has been able to accomplish onscreen: hit Cap where it really hurts. It’s never a good sign when the boss expresses doubt about sending his champion into battle against a new untested foe; it makes the big guy look like a paper tiger and conveys instant credibility on the rookie.
As fans are no doubt aware, Marvel/Disney’s next Captain America sequel is scheduled to be released on May 6, 2016 — and Warner Bros. has slotted its Man of Steel sequel, tentatively dubbed Batman vs. Superman, on the very same Friday, setting up a clash of titans between the comic book rivals and moving it from the page to the screen.
I see a couple of really great film posters were just released — along with another that is… well, curious.
The Godzilla poster clearly rules them all. This beauty is a limited edition available only to lucky attendees at SXSW.
Disney is going all-out with two posters for Angelina Jolie’s Maleficent — one version makes it look like a standalone (non-Disney) production centered on Angelina, while the other goes the total “Disney animated fairy princess” route and includes co-star Elle Fanning. (No, this is not an Angie solo project.)
Finally, I included The Raid 2 only for the blurb, “One of the greatest action movies ever made!” Because if anything screams action, it’s a dude pointing a baseball bat and woman with a claw hammer!
Bob Iger schools Lord Vader.
We fans knew it was coming when the production dramatically shuffled its writing team, but now Disney has come out with an official
spin reason for pushing the release of Star Wars: Episode VII from the summer of 2015 to Dec. 18, 2015.
Bob Iger, CEO of the Walt Disney Company, told Bloomberg TV:
“One of the things that was very important to us is that we give the creative team, J.J. Abrams and his writing team, the time to design, write and produce the film so we can optimize quality, so they can create a great film. Very, very important…. At one point we considered the summer of 2015 [but] it felt like, particularly with some changes we made in the writing team that that was going to create a bit of a rush and didn’t think that was optimal for obvious reasons.”
Iger went on to
rationalize point out that Dec. 18 “happens to be the date which Avatar, which is the No. 1 movie of all time, was released, so we like that.”
So there you have it: Disney was always interested in the integrity and quality of the movie — not some sticking to some arbitrary release date selected long before there was even a script for the movie. Only optimizing quality.
Remember last year, when Angelina Jolie started working on that movie about Sleeping Beauty as told from the point of view of the “Big Bad,” the Evil Queen? Well, now we get a taste of that work in the first trailer for Maleficent.
Angelina really looks the part, and although she doesn’t get to do much here, Maleficent does come across as very creepy. I’m not sold on about Elle Fanning‘s pseudo-British accent as Princess Aurora, the soon-to-be Sleeping Beauty, but the rest of the production looks quite good.
Maleficent opens May 30, 2014.
Netflix has just announced that it is joining with Disney and its Marvel brand to produce and distribute four new 13-episode on-demand TV series based on Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones — and, on the horizon, a Defenders miniseries!
According to the announcement:
“The epic will unfold over multiple years of original programming, taking Netflix members deep into the gritty world of heroes and villains of Hell’s Kitchen, New York. Netflix has committed to a minimum of four, 13-episodes series and a culminating Marvel’s The Defenders miniseries event that reimagines a dream team of self-sacrificing, heroic characters.”
The whole plan will kick off beginning in 2015, and it is expected that entire series will be in the can before Netflix releases the first episodes.