Welcome back to the Geek Beat! With the holidays now fully behind us, we’re heading into 2013 with some pretty big news items on the docket, particularly on the comic book-film front. But, we also have some interesting bits of news to share for sci-fi fans, with tidbits about some soon-coming Star Trek releases as well as a brand new look at Guillermo del Toro’s sci-fi outing Pacific Rim.
But first, let’s begin the way we normally do on the Geek Beat with the top three geek articles Movies.com has posted over the last week.
1) J.J. Abrams Screens ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ for Dying Trekkie
2) Watch: Fans Spend Years Making an Elaborate ‘Jurassic Park’ Game
3) ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ Concept Art Shows Cut Battle Between Spidey and the Lizard
Those are all worth reading, and I just want to say as well that I have a newfound respect for Bad Robot and J.J. Abrams for making that fan’s wish possible. It was a fantastic gesture and definitely one that reinforces the camaraderie of the entire community of Star Trek fans.
Having said that, let’s take a look at some news worthy of making it into the Geek Beat this week.
CES Provides New Look at Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim
This past Monday in Las Vegas at the annual Consumer Electronics Show, Guillermo del Toro took the stage to present a new, alternative trailer for the summer release featuring alien-bashing robot fighters that will try to “cancel the apocalypse.” The trailer looks awesome, check it out below.
From an aesthetic perspective, I’m reminded a lot of the Halo games, and hearing an eerily familiar mechanized voice brought me to some imagery from the Portal games as well. Either way, if del Toro is a video game fan than he’s in good company, and all of the elements for Rim look to be collating into a very unique film experience that will be a whole hell of a lot of fun. Can’t wait! Speaking of Mr. del Toro, we have one other small news item that may interest you…
Guillermo del Toro Bringing The Dark Universe to Life for DC Comics
In a report originating from IGN and picked up by Batman-On-Film, the director has confirmed that he is shepherding a film called The Dark Universe for Warner Bros. and DC Comics. In del Toro’s statement also comes some surprising confirmation about the plans for Justice League and how they tie in with Man of Steel. The director elaborated as follows:
"I'm working on it. I'm writing the outline and we're already in talks with a writer. A very, very good writer. People are probably going to be happy with who we have chosen. He accepted. I've been courting this writer, who I think is the perfect guy for this job. We're doing it. Hopefully it will happen."
He also elaborated on how the talk of the film got started, with mention of how far back it extends and how the studio is apparently including Man of Steel in its plans for a full-fledged Justice League film.
"The movement for this happened before [The Avengers]. They already galvanized to launch Justice League and they were galvanized to make their universe cohesive. They are really, really -- with [Man of Steel] -- very, very confident with what they have. They are now feeling they have two pillars: Batman and Superman. There's a foundation that now they can build on."
The purported roster that Dark Universe would deal with is very similar to the currently published Justice League Dark comic book series that started with the New 52 relaunch. The characters mentioned are Swamp Thing, John Constantine, Zatanna, Zatara, Deadman and the Spectre. If all of this pans out, this could potentially set the stage for the formations of a cinematic DC Universe on par to compete with Marvel’s, especially if del Toro’s inclinations about Justice League, Batman and Superman are true (which excites me to no end). Let’s hope this one pans out!
Warner Bros. Animation Kicking Off with The Lego Movie, Beginning New Animation Initiative
As we reported earlier (via a Variety news item), Warner Bros. has decided to take a new approach to animation, hoping to add to, what Jeff Robinov calls, the studio’s “extraordinary legacy in the world of animation.” Its new animation brain trust includes John Requa and Glenn Ficarra, (Crazy, Stupid, Love., Cats & Dogs); Nicholas Stoller (The Muppets); Phil Lord and Chris Miller (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs); and Jared Stern (Mr. Popper's Penguins). The first film to be released from this initiative will be The Lego Movie (formerly titled Lego: The Piece of Resistance) directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, with a large voice cast that includes Will Arnett as Batman and Channing Tatum as Superman.
Warner Bros. has been a strong animation studio for several years, and in that field alone it has actually been outdoing Marvel (which runs circles around them in live-action adaptations) in that department. Since 2007, its Warner Premiere division has been churning out two-to-three DC Comics-based animated films per year with relatively high sales success. By broadening the base for its animation department and creating high-profile theatrical releases on an annual basis, that can only mean good things for the studio.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Comics: In for Sin City, Out for Guardians of the Galaxy
While rumors had recently been swirling about the possibility of Joseph Gordon-Levitt joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe in James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Deadline has recently put those rumors to rest while confirming that the 31-year-old actor is not done with comics yet. The report says that while he’s out for Guardians, he will be a cast member in Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez’s long-in-development sequel Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. He’ll be alongside many actors that are returning from the original 2005 Sin City film, including Mickey Rourke (as Marv), Clive Owen (as Dwight), Bruce Willis (as Hartigan) and Rosario Dawson (as Gail). Deadline also offers that Dennis Hasbert (known to me for a great performance in 2002’s Far from Heaven and as the voice of Kilowog in the animated Justice League) will be joining the cast in an as-yet-unspecified role.
Marvel Studios was apparently eyeing Levitt for the lead in Guardians, one of its 2014 offerings (alongside Captain America: The Winter Soldier) leading up to 2015’s Avengers sequel. Hopefully, we’ll have an idea of who will soon be filling out the cast for that film that symbolizes Marvel’s embracing of the cosmic on the big screen.
Superman Roundup Part One: Goyer “Proud” of Man of Steel
David S. Goyer, the screenwriter for Man of Steel, recently gave a few words to Access Hollywood about how he feels surrounding his work on bringing Superman back to the silver screen. See his comments below:
I absolutely love the sentiments expressed, as regular readers of this piece are likely unsurprised to learn. I’ve often said that the Superman in everyone’s mind is not the modern interpretation of him, and with Goyer relating that this film is “right for the times,” that has me infinitely hopeful. Even barring that, though, I love that Goyer said that this is the type of film we need right now with an “unabashed hero.” Dark heroes are fine (and rather easy to pull off according to Goyer), but with riskier territory for that unabashed hero could come greater reward, and it looks like Goyer has helped to craft, what he feels, is the right film for the right time about the right man. Are you excited yet?
Part Two: New Description for Man of Steel Appears Online
That’s not all we have for Superman, though. As we previously reported, a new image of Henry Cavill as Superman in Man of Steel was printed in USA Today. It’s a decent image, but now we have a little bit more to add to it thanks to the Superman Homepage.
The folks at the website noticed that the same image was released on Warner Bros. French-language site, but with a slightly different description about the film. Running through an online translator, the new description reads,
“A small boy discovers that he possesses supernatural strength and that he was not born on Earth. Later, he heads out on a journey in order to understand where he comes from and why he was sent to our planet. But he will have to become a hero if he wants to save the world from total destruction and embody the hope for all humanity...”
While that may not be as direct a translation as we’d like due to certain inherent limitations in online translators, that description provides a bit of an interesting perspective on what the flow of the film might be. With the trailers giving perhaps our earliest look yet at Clark Kent’s childhood, that is definitely fertile ground to explore and will likely give general audiences that relatability that so many Superman haters claim the character lacks. If I can’t convince them in the comic shop, then hopefully a multimillion dollar budgeted film can do it this summer.
Part Three: Matt Bomer Giving Life to Superman After All
For those fans out there that religiously followed the development of Superman on film for the last decade and a half or so, you might be interested in knowing that Matt Bomer is finally going to get the chance to play Superman. Instead of doing so in the next live-action outing, though, he’ll be doing it in animation (though he did sort of get a shot in live action a few years ago).
For those not in the know, Bomer was the apparent frontrunner to bring Superman to life in a film with Brett Ratner in the director’s chair, before it was eventually shelved and the studio decided to go with Superman Returns. Bomer gets his newest chance at Superman in the animated feature Superman: Unbound, based on a fantastic comic book arc in 2008’s Action Comics #866-870, entitled Superman: Brainiac. Written by Geoff Johns and with art by Gary Frank, it is one of my absolute personal favorite modern Superman stories.
TV Guide dropped the news in an interview with the film’s director, James Tucker, who detailed elements of the film’s plot as well as naming other cast members like Stana Katic (Lois Lane), Molly Quinn (Supergirl) and John Noble (Brainiac). The film will release this summer, likely ahead of Man of Steel, and will be the 17th released film in the line of DC Universe Animated Original Movies that have been running since 2007.
Star Trek Notes: Into Darkness Going to the Super Bowl
In a report originating from TrekMovie, it looks like CBS is going to try to use this year’s big game to try and drum up some buzz for the new Star Trek film arriving in theaters on May 17. A new partnership between Paramount Pictures and Qualcomm Labs is creating a smartphone app that will be tied into the film that promises to deliver exclusive content related to the film both during and “beyond” one of the most-watched television events in the country, this year occurring on February 3.
The app will apparently be streaming content during the second quarter of the game, and fans will be able to unlock one of “many surprises” when the film’s commercial plays in that time slot. The app will launch at the end of January, and will be available for both Android and iOS devices. You can register for it now here, as well as for a contest to win a spot at the film’s premiere.
Star Trek: Enterprise Season One Coming to Blu-ray
In other Trek news, while The Next Generation is proving to be very popular on Blu-ray Disc, it looks like CBS has decided to release the final Trek TV series in the HD format. Star Trek: Enterprise, which was originally known just as Enterprise for the first two seasons before adding Star Trek to the title during season three, will see its first season released on Blu-ray on March 26, likely about two weeks ahead of the third season release for The Next Generation. The series has proven to be a polarizing one for Trek fans because of many liberties it had taken with established Star Trek history, but like all of the shows it has a very dedicated and outspoken fanbase.
Enterprise takes place 150 years prior to the adventures of Captain Kirk, and focuses on Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula), who has been selected as the very first starship captain in Earth’s history. The show’s timeline begins about a decade prior to the established formation of the United Federation of Planets, and details the first problems and triumphs of human beings making their presence known on the intergalactic stage. The Vulcan people are skeptical of the humans and their ability to explore, but a disastrous first contact with the Klingons compels Earth to launch their first mission of exploration early.
If you’ve never seen it and have a Netflix subscription, you can take a look at the show (in HD) over there. It was definitely an interesting experiment (that started to get really good in its final season), but it’s hard to deny the show’s role in the decline of the franchise as a whole until 2009.
My Pick This Week at the Comic Shop (Releasing 1/9)
I’m sure that many of you have heard the news about the death of Peter Parker in Marvel’s Amazing Spider-Man #700. Well, the age-old question of “what happens next” will be answered this week with the publication of Superior Spider-Man #1, written by Dan Slott with pencils by Ryan Stegman. This book picks up with the mind of Otto Octavius (better known as Doctor Octopus) in the body of Peter, who has vowed to use his intellect and keen scientific mind for the forces of good as not just the same ol’ Spider-Man, but as a superior Spider-Man.
While we all have a lot to say when it comes to the use of death in comics, even I can’t deny that the storytelling potential is potentially very high in Spidey’s corner of the Marvel Universe and beyond. These days, Spider-Man has a steady job, an extended family (that includes old rival J. Jonah Jameson), and membership in the Avengers. Can Octavius keep his promise to the dead Peter after being used to playing the role of a villain for so long? We’ll find out this week.
That does it this week on the Geek Beat, I hope I’ve left you with plenty to talk about and even more to look forward to. See you next week, same geeky time, same geeky site!
Chris Clow is a graduate of Western Washington University, in addition to having an obsession with film history and general geekdom. He is a comic book expert and retailer, contributor, and overall geek to GeekNation.com, Batman-On-Film.com and ModernMythMedia.com. You can find his comic book reviews and participated podcasts at BOF and MMM, regular blogs at GeekNation, as well as his weekly piece The Geek Beat right here at Movies.com every Tuesday. Check out his blog, and follow him on Twitter @ChrisClow!