Welcome back to the Geek Beat! This week there’s a decent amount of news that we can cover, but as usual, check out the top three geeky articles that could be found this past week at Movies.com.
1) How 'Django Unchained' Connects to the 'Pulp Fiction' Universe
2) Dear 'Terminator 5,' Please Avoid the Sins of 'Salvation'
3) Seven Clever Ways 'The Hobbit' References 'Lord of the Rings'
If any of you love shared universes as much as I do, you HAVE to check out that first article. It’s especially fun if you’re a big fan of Tarantino’s work. But, I digress.
We have news covering most of the upcoming corners of superhero film as well as a couple of other bits thrown in just for good measure. So, without further ado, let’s get cracking!
The Return of Arnim Zola in The Winter Soldier?
One of the particular thrills I got out of watching Captain America: The First Avenger was in the inclusion of Arnim Zola, a classic Cap villain played very well by the truly gifted Toby Jones. Our look at Zola in that film was before he became a bit more machine than man, since most comics fans have been accustomed to seeing him in a robotic body with his face appearing on a giant screen in the center of its torso. The film made a very clever reference to this, since the first time you see Zola’s face it is magnified on a screen.
Well, it appears that the HYDRA scientist who worked at the Red Skull’s right hand could be back to plague the Star-Spangled Avenger once again in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Speaking briefly to Hey U Guys on the red carpet of the Critics Circle Awards, Jones said that Dr. Zola will be back to challenge Steve Rogers once again. See the full interview with Jones below (which is a joy to watch because of his love of his craft), with the Cap anecdote arriving at the very end of the video.
Feige Talks Mandarin and Iron Man 3
One of the reasons a lot of people have their eyes on Iron Man 3 is the choice of the villain. The Mandarin had his groundwork laid down in the first film, where the faction known as the Ten Rings had abducted Tony and charted the course for him to become the Invincible Iron Man. The group’s name was a reference to the rings that the Mandarin is known to wear on his fingers, which allows him to command certain superhuman abilities and offensive weapons. In the comics, the rings are actually forms of alien technology that the Mandarin has managed to engineer into responding to his mental commands.
Ben Kingsley’s casting certainly turned quite a few heads, and in an interview with MTV, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige gave a few soundbytes as to why he will present Tony with perhaps his greatest challenge to date.
“We felt there was leeway to explore the Mandarin in a way that hasn't been explored before. We found we couldn't point to any sort of definitive Mandarin story in the comics — but if you print this, I'm sure a million fans will point to a specific story — so as we've done with many of the films, we did an amalgamation. The Mandarin is relentless: he's a nonstop threat, and you've seen that in the first teaser trailer when Tony Stark's house tumbles into the sea. He doesn't mess around, this guy.”
Be sure to check out the full article for MTV’s full look at the film, including more words from Feige about Tony’s personal struggles and what the environment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is like after the events of The Avengers.
The New Mary Jane Talks Amazing Spider-Man Sequel
MTV also caught up with actress Shailene Woodley about stepping into the role of Mary Jane Watson for the upcoming sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man. Of particular interest to fans of Spidey should be how her character will interact with Gwen Stacy, given the already well-known history between Peter and MJ from the previous Spider-Man films starring Tobey Maguire.
A lot of Spider-Man fans have spirited debates about who is really Peter’s true love: MJ or Gwen. For the first time in a major motion picture, we’ll see what more general audiences have to say as those characters should appear substantially together for the first time (FYI, I’m not counting Spider-Man 3. They shared basically one scene and had one real exchange, and Gwen was just a one-note character in that film.)
See what Woodley had to say about joining the cast in the following video from MTV.
Henry Cavill Talks Man of Steel in New Audio Interview
Henry Cavill recently sat down for a phone interview with Voices from Krypton, where he “discusses what it’s like to portray larger-than-life characters like Theseus in Immortals and Superman in Man of Steel. Additionally, he compares his early aspirations as an actor to the reality he finds himself in.”
Anyone interested in Cavill’s approach to the character of Superman should find the interview pretty interesting, and maybe even a little eye-opening. Give it a listen now...
Surprising Return in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
In what should definitely prove to be a bit of a surprise, and a pleasant one at that, director Robert Rodriguez sat down with MTV to discuss a return by a fan-favorite actor in a fan-favorite role in the upcoming Sin City sequel: “Bruce is back, he’ll be seen.”
Rodriguez is of course referring to actor Bruce Willis, who played the gruff detective John Hartigan in the first Sin City film. Like the first film, A Dame to Kill For will feature several stories tying together to fill out the entire story. Two of the stories featured involve Hartigan in some fashion, either by taking place around the same time as a prior story or in reaction to his suicide at the end of the first film. Either way, Willis’ return should be seen as a positive for the sequel, which has the vast majority of its original players all coming back in the same roles.
My Pick This Week at the Comic Shop (Releasing 1/23)
My pick this week is the continuation of the “Throne of Atlantis” story found in Justice League #16, by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis. Crossing over with Aquaman, the story tells of the forces of Atlantis rising up with its king’s own battle plans to take over the surface world in a preemptive attack to avoid its own destruction. In addition to the devastation brought about by the Atlantean attack (seeing cities like Gotham and Metropolis being flooded by the invading forces), this creates tension on the Justice League because the king of Atlantis that came up with the invasion plans was Aquaman himself.
Johns continues taking the Sea King to great heights with a characterization that’s managed to be a very strong seller, and his work in making Aquaman “cool” seems to be working (for those of you who don’t believe me, consider this: when Aquaman launched with the New 52 initiative in 2011, for the first six issues it outsold every single Marvel Comics title). “Throne of Atlantis” is a great place to jump into both Aquaman and the Justice League, giving great moments to Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and, of course, Aquaman himself. Pick up Aquaman #14-15 and Justice League #15 to catch up to the story, and then grab Justice League #16 to own them all.
Be sure to come back next week for the latest in geeky news about geeky movies from the geeky side of Movies.com!
Chris Clow is a geek. He is a comic book expert and retailer, and geeky contributor to GeekNation.com, Batman-On-Film.com and ModernMythMedia.com. You can find his comic reviews and 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 along on Twitter @ChrisClow!