All The Marvel News

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Last week was Marvel's big Comic-Con chance to release a slew of updates on their various projects, and they took advantage of the opportunity. Over the course of the entire week, they released the above Avengers: Age of Ultron promotional image piece by piece, and leaked information in the lead up to the Marvel TV panels on Friday, and the Marvel films panel on Saturday night.

It was, all told, one of their lighter announcement periods. Kevin Feige has in the past, said that he only takes Marvel to Comic-Con when there is something worth making a fuss over. And unlike last year, where they announced the name of the Avengers sequel, as well as had Agents of SHIELD to hock, this year was high on quantity but light on quality. Most of what they announced was either casting details or technical information. And Phase 3, with two exceptions, is still entirely a mystery.

There was no Daredevil cast and crew present, despite the past month seeing nearly that entire show come together. There were no announcements about any of the other Netflix-backed Marvel series. There was a cameo appearance by Josh Brolin, cementing his role as Thanos, but that was about it. With a bunch of rumours concerning Doctor Strange surfacing this past week but none of them confirmed Saturday night, I suspect that Feige was expecting to be able to announce something big that just didn't happen in time, and thus the Phase 3 roll out will have to wait until either next summer's Comic-Con and D23 expo.

After the jump, I've gathered together all the news concerning the MCU that we didn't know before, including update on Guardians of the Galaxy, Agents of SHIELD, Agent Carter, Age of Ultron, and Ant-man.

The first thing Marvel did last week was announce a slew of release dates. What Marvel failed to do by the week's end was announce what movies would be taking those slots, at least through to the end of 2017 (and you know that they've got things firm at least until then). Later on in the week, I'll be taking a closer look at these dates, but for now what is important to note is that, as of 2017, Marvel will up their output to three films a year, as Feige teased back around the release of The Winter Soldier. For now, this is how Marvel's future looks.
Avengers: Age Of Ultron - 1 May, 2015
Ant-Man - 17 July 2015
Captain America 3 - 6 May 2016
Untitled – 8 July 2016
Untitled – 5 May 2017
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – 28 July 2017
Untitled – 3 November 2017
Untitled – 4 May 2018
Untitled – 6 July 2018
Untitled – 2 November 2018
Untitled – 3 May 2019 
Guardians of the Galaxy

Might as well start with these guys, since their inaugural film is being released this Friday (and I'm mightily looking forward to it). Probably the biggest announcement that was made this week was the confirmation that, without any box office to back up the decision, Guardians of the Galaxy will be getting a sequel, and it will be written and directed by James Gunn.

This is a huge boost of confidence both for an untested franchise and Gunn's vision. And clearly, Feige isn't allowing Disney to call all the shots when it comes to getting passion projects made. The sequel will take the July 2017 slot in the lineup, meaning almost exactly three years from now, we'll be seeing more of a talking raccoon and a space Ent, and that Chris Pratt's post-Parks future as an action hero is secure.

Agents of SHIELD

Ah, the show that a year ago everyone was salivating over, and that this year they had to add Adderall to the drinking fountains to get anyone worked up about it. Take note kids, this is how you kill franchise momentum. After 2/3rds of a terrible first year, SHIELD rebounded slightly in the wake of the Winter Soldier, but still fundamentally suffered from the same problems it did all along. This bisected second season is going to have to show marked improvements if it hopes to survive, not only in the ratings but in the hearts and minds of the precious few who stuck with the show.

Easiest way to do that is to announce that Lucy Lawless is joining your program, which is exactly what they did. Lawless (Xena, Parks and Rec) will play original character Isabelle Hartley, a SHIELD vet who wasn't part of the HYDRA plot and can hold her own in a knife fight. Also joining the show will be English actor Nick Blood as Lance Hunter, who in the comics is the Director of S.T.R.I.K.E., the British equivalent to SHIELD. A counterpart to Coulson's new directorship, perhaps? A way for them to eventually introduce Captain Britain to the MCU, me-hopes? Whedon regular Reed Diamond will appear as this season's Big Bad Daniel Whitehall, a HYDRA commander known as the "the Kraken." And fulfilling the role of this season's C-List superhero (last season was Deathlok) will be Barbara Morse, the Mockingbird, who in the comics was once married to Hawkeye Clint Barton. The role has yet to be cast.

Returning to the series will be Patton Oswalt as Agents Sam and Billy Koenig (almost certainly Life Model Decoys). The Rising Tide, who were all but unestablished over the coarse of season one, will play a part in the form of Skye's ex-boyfriend Miles Lydon (Austin Nichols). And in very good news, BJ Britt will return as Agent Antoine Triplett. By the end of the season, it seemed like the show and the team had become what everyone wanted it to be from the get go, and just took their sweet ass time getting there. Agent Trip's return is a welcome sign that the writers heard what the viewers were saying. They didn't hear everything, sadly, because both Brett Dalton and Iain De Caestecker will return as Ward and Fitz respectively, despite both of those character's storylines coming to natural conclusions last year.

Agent Carter

Ah, the show that everyone is salivating over this year, and not just because it'll be the first female-lead MCU feature in the seven years and ten films that they've been doing this. But because Hayley Atwell is proving to be as ubiquitous to the MCU as Samuel L. Jackson and as enthusiastic as Robert Downey Jr. And because the period piece Agent Carter, following on from the events of Captain America and the Agent Carter short, is shaping up to be an impressive bit of network television.

Louis D’Esposito, director of the short, will direct the first of the eight episode season, which will air this coming winter, between the two halves of Agents of SHIELD's season. The pilot was written by Winter Soldier writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. The Winter Soldier (and former Community) directors Joe Russo and Anthony Russo will direct the second and third episodes, and rumors are that Captain America director Joe Johnson wants to take over duties on the fourth. The series will be run by Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas, who will be doing double duty on Resurrection.

Little about the cast of the series has been revealed, beyond Atwell and Dominic Cooper in a recurring reprisal of his role as Howard Stark. Markus and McFeely did announce that Edwin Jarvis will appear as Stark's butler and eventual inspiration for Tony's Jarvis AI, and may serve as something of an Alfred to Atwell's Carter. Film Divider got hold of some casting notes that presumably describe the rest of the supporting cast, but as we saw with SHIELD last year, these notes if genuine, are libel and likely to change before anything gets put on film. I've included them here for the sake of completeness.
"Deputy Director Roger Hooley is a hardworking, principled older man and Peggy’s boss. As you might expect, he’s bothered by ongoing problems in his personal life as well as the challenges of his day job.
Agent Jack Thompson is in his 30s, handsome and damn well knows it. The polar opposite of Dooley, he doesn’t take kindly to women in the workplace, nor how little recognition he gets. Worse, he wants Dooley’s job and is desperate to prove himself.
Edward Hutchins is a highly professional agent with an unusual problem; duplicity. He’s lying to his wife about what he does to stop her worrying. True Lies, SHIELD style.
Daniel Sousa is everything Jack Thompson wants to be. He’s a war hero who walks using a leg brace, but finds dealing with office politics to be harder than working around his injury. Sousa is also a fiercely honourable, gentle man and we’re betting he becomes one of Peggy’s major allies.
And outside of the agency, there’s Angie Martinelli. Working as an automat waitress, Angie dreams of being a singer. She’s a tough, compassionate young woman who is smart and loyal and seems set to be Peggy’s anchor to the world away from SHIELD."

More bad news for Ant-man, I''m afraid. Patrick Wilson, Matt Gerald and Kevin Weisman have all left the project, scheduled to start production within the next couple weeks. Gerald and Weisman's characters were removed from the script during the recent round of last minute rewrites, and Wilson had a scheduling conflict. Kevin Feige and new director Peyton Reed (Yes Man, Bring It On) were able to confirm that Corey Stoll will be playing Darren Cross, also known as Yellowjacket, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas)'s protege who has taken over the company and taken it in "an evil direction."

Evangeline Lilly was confirmed to be playing Hope Pym, or Hope Van Dyne, the daughter of Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne (the Wasp). In the comics, Hope becomes the supervillain Red Queen. When asked about her character arc, Lilly responded in her usual and refreshing honesty  “I can’t tell you anything else about her because I don’t know, I don’t have a script,” she said. Not usually a good sign for a movie set to start in two weeks. Of course, Iron Man didn't have a script at all while it was filming, and look how that turned out.

Age of Ultron

Considering that it's the follow up to the third highest grossing film of all time, and that it's Marvel's next release after Guardians, there was very little announced about Age of Ultron that we didn't already know. The above image was released well in advance of the Con, showing the world how at least one of Ultron's forms will appear in the film. The panel featured most of the cast, including James Spader who has be mo-caping Ultron, and Paul Bettany, who will be pulling double duty as both Jarvis and Ultron lackey The Vision.

 Early footage, mostly of the Avengers hanging out in their civvies, was screened, though Kevin Feige warned that it'll be some time before the general public sees this footage, or any teaser trailer at all for the sequel (despite Marvel having their last release, MCU or not, between now and next May this weekend). I, for one, would not be disappointed in seeing the “I've Got No Strings” teaser put on either end of Guardians, if only to wet our whistles.

Feige spent most of his time confirming little details. Like how Ant-man, in keeping with each film being an example of another genre, will be a heist film, and Doctor Strange will be a supernatural origin film, taking inspiration from Cosmos, which we've heard before. He suggested that the three year schedule between Avengers films is something to stick with (meaning that Avengers 3 might be filling May 2018 release date), and that the pattern of having one sequel and one original feature is how the company wants to proceed. What that means once they add a third film to the yearly offerings was not elaborated on.

I think that, if we've established anything here, it's that there is a trend of Parks and Rec cast members (Chris Pratt, Lucy Lawless, Paul Rudd) joining the MCU. I approve of this direction, and officially kick off the campaign to get Nick Offerman cast as anyone at all. Eros of Titan, even. He could bewitch everyone with his facial follicles and sheer man-musk.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


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