With every Tuesday comes a new Geek Beat, and this week the talk around water coolers and in comic shops by true believers seems to be focused on superheroes (namely the high-profile teams at both Marvel and DC), the surprising possible future for Batman that the JLA could bring, more details from Star Wars, and a look ahead at what will be immediately coming our way in 2013. I have a few news items for you as well as a little bit of opinion, but before we get to that, let’s begin as we normally do here at the Geek Beat and take a look at the three best geeky articles featured here at Movies.com over the past week:
1) 'Empire Strikes Back' and 'X-Men: First Class' Writers May Script 'Star Wars' Episodes 8 and 9
2) Zack Snyder on 'Man of Steel' Costume, Story and Connections to 'Justice League'
3) Looking to the Future: 8 Science Fiction Movies to Watch for
Let’s take a look at a few news items first though, shall we? We’ll begin at the place here on the Beat that gives you all you need to know about the adaptations of four-color worlds and characters in the Comics Corner.
Iron Man 3: Not So Serious?
For me, one of the more striking things that came out of the trailer for Marvel Studios’ forthcoming film Iron Man 3 was its tone: it was moody, a bit darker and definitely more somber fair than we’ve seen from Tony Stark in the three previous Marvel Studios films he appeared in, and what I’ve largely heard from observers and fans is that this is a step in the right direction for the franchise. After Stark’s last solo outing in 2010’s Iron Man 2, it seemed like Tony had gotten maybe a little to comfortable in his place in the world and his somewhat irreverent behavior. The impression I and many other fans seemed to get was that the reality of Tony’s influence and power would seemingly catch up to him in the form of sobering reality, courtesy of Ben Kingsley’s portrayal of legendary Iron Man nemesis the Mandarin.
Well, apparently this isn’t to be. In an interview with TheWest.com.au, Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige put the tone of the forthcoming sequel rather bluntly: Iron Man 3 will not be a “serious movie.” Feige insists that the film will attempt to freshen up the franchise to a certain extent, but that the seriousness in the trailer was mostly there to illustrate to wider audiences that this will be a bit of a different take on the Armored Avenger.
Personally I’m a little disappointed, because I really felt that after the exploitation of irreverence in the first two Iron Man films as well as in parts of The Avengers, I figured it would make a lot of sense for the third film to go hard in the other direction. As it stands right now for me personally, I’m two out of three on the character’s film appearances, since I loved Iron Man and The Avengers but was left a bit cold on Iron Man 2. I’m hopeful for the third entry though, largely because of the material it’s based upon. As always, time will tell what kind of film it ends up being, as Iron Man 3 opens on May 3, 2013.
Batman in Justice League: John Blake?
So, did the new Dark Knight rise into the ranks of the Justice League? With reports going as far back as March of last year in regards to a reboot of the Batman film franchise, the next bit of news is particularly surprising. Coming from a report from my fellow gentleman Sean Gerber at Modern Myth Media (via HitFix), a new and very interesting rumor has surfaced that implies that Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s platform rising from the waters of the Batcave may not be the last we’ve seen of him in relation to the Dark Knight. The report from HitFix uses very strong language to say that Warner Bros. may already have Levitt signed to play Batman in a Justice League film, if not sooner than that.
Now, before we Batman geeks get too crazy on this topic, let’s heed the words of Sean’s report, who very rightfully states that, “Despite the strong wording, we’ve seen things that 'sources say' fail to come to fruition before. This should all be taken with a grain of salt for now, but there is no question this news will inspire extreme reactions from those for and against this potential casting move.”
He’s absolutely right, On the chance that this news ends up being true, I’m genuinely torn about this possibility. Levitt is an actor that I respect more as each day goes by (Have you seen Lincoln? Go do it, if not!), but the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight trilogy told a fantastic and self-contained story about Bruce Wayne, from the beginning of his career as Batman to the very end. As a fan of the Justice League and the DC Universe at large, I’d be pretty sad not to see Bruce Wayne as Batman standing alongside the other heroes of the Justice League. However, that’s not to say that Mr. Levitt couldn’t be Bruce Wayne.
Modern Myth Media, HitFix, me, and the rest of the Internet will be keeping a close eye on this story as it develops, I’m sure. Sound off with your thoughts below, because this is a very interesting development that if true, could show a sign of where a cinematic DC Universe will be going in the years to come.
Snyder on Man of Steel and Connections to Justice League
In a report right here at Movies.com (via the New York Post), director Zack Snyder has become slightly more vocal about the future for his newly established Superman in the upcoming summer film Man of Steel. With a few large hints perhaps inadvertently coming from Snyder in regards to the bigger picture of a potential DC Universe, particularly the part where Snyder calls such a revelation a “big spoiler,” Snyder also had a telling quote when he said that Warner Bros. entrusted him with keeping them “on course.” Is there already a pre-plotted course toward a team up of the World’s Greatest Heroes?
It seems to be looking that way, but I’d imagine there’s a fair chance that nothing will be certain until about two o’clock in the morning on June 14, after the first midnight screenings of Man of Steel start concluding.
Empire Writer to Return to Star Wars?
According to a story at Deadline (and as reported here at Movies.com last week), it looks as if writers Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg are being tapped by the new Disney-controlled Lucasfilm to pen the latter two parts of the new Star Wars sequel trilogy. Kinberg was one of the writers from the critically and commercially successful X-Men entry First Class. Kasdan, one of the writers on what is widely regarded as the best Star Wars film ever in The Empire Strikes Back, is also an accomplished writer and director. His 1981 film Body Heat is a personal favorite of mine, a steamy neo-noir taing the typical conventions of the film noir genre and giving them a decidedly intriguing modern twist.
The story goes that Kasdan will be responsible for the script of the second act in this new trilogy in Episode VIII, with Kinberg being responsible for Episode IX.
I’m personally thrilled that Kasdan’s back in the mix for Star Wars, since one of the problems so many fans and enthusiasts had with the prequel trilogy was the unilateral way that George Lucas went about making them. On the original trilogy, Lucas had creative filters in other writers and directors which allowed them to creatively soar beyond the expectations and trappings of a sequel, and Kasdan was one of the major minds advocating for Empire to be anything but A New Hope 2. That mindset, along with Irvin Kershner’s directing prowess, allowed The Empire Strikes Back to beat “sequel syndrome” into bloody submission, and Kasdan rightfully recognized (as he pointed out in the 2004 Star Wars documentary Empire of Dreams) that Empire needed to be the second act in a play, where after a rousing start, “everything goes to hell.” He rightfully added, “and that’s usually the best act in a play.”
I’m beyond thrilled that the second act in this play is now going to be handled by the same man. While it may be a little too lofty to expect lightning to strike twice for Kasdan’s involvement in Episode VIII, I think it’s safe to say that the chances for that have just been exponentially increased.
My Pick This Week at the Comic Shop (Releasing 11/28)
My most anticipated book this week in comic shops nationwide comes from DC, as Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham bring us the long-awaited Batman Incorporated #5. Morrison’s long-form Batman story that began back in the summer of 2006 is screaming toward its conclusion in next years Incorporated #12, and this issue goes back to a beat from Morrison’s highly popular 2007 issue of Batman #666. That story, entitled “Batman in Bethlehem,” gave us a look at a dystopian future where all of Gotham’s heroes, including Bruce Wayne, have been long dead. Damian, Bruce’s biological son and a highly trained killer from Ra’s and Talia al Ghul’s League of Assassins, has taken up his father’s mantle as a brutally violent and murderous Dark Knight.
This new issue serves as a semi-sequel to that 2007 story, returning to the dystopian timeline and the adult Damian serving in his father’s stead as Batman. How it ties in to Morrison’s conclusion I’m not exactly sure, but you can bet I’ll be there to find out this Wednesday when it arrives at comic shops everywhere.
If you’re not sure how you can enjoy the latest comics offering from DC, Marvel, Image, IDW, Dark Horse, Dynamite, Boom and all of the other great publishers out there, be sure to navigate to the Comic Shop Locator and find out where you can jump into each new offering from one of America’s greatest native art forms!
That does it for this week’s Geek Beat. Be sure to be back here next week for the latest look at Geekdom’s news, and add your reactions to these and other stories in the comments below.
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 Batman-On-Film.com and ModernMythMedia.com. You can find his comic book reviews for various monthly titles and his participated podcasts at BOF and MMM, as well as his regular piece The Geek Beat right here at Movies.com every Tuesday. Check out his blog, and follow him on Twitter @ChrisClow.