Welcome back to The Geek Beat -- if you’re here then you’re in the mood for something a little more… specialized, and it’s my job to bring it to you every Tuesday. A few recent big-news items have come down from the likes of Star Wars: Episode VII, the future of the James Bond franchise, Star Trek Into Darkness, and even a bit of interesting news on Batman’s cinematic future from the director of this year’s most interesting sci-fi film.
But first, we’ll take a look at the world of intrigue and the ultimate provocateur in the future of the James Bond franchise. Skyfall has proven to be very successful, so that begs the question: Where do we go from here? It looks like the answer, thankfully, may lie in Skyfall itself.
Sam Mendes Cocreating the Story for the Next Bond?
According to a report from Bleeding Cool, director Sam Mendes may not be done with 007 yet, as the screenwriters of the last several Bond films seem to have given away that Mendes may have some involvement in future installments after all.
Neal Purvis and Robert Wade talked about “going out on a high” with Skyfall when it was Wade who gave away the nugget of info: “We’re very happy to have done five Bond movies, I think we’ve gotten it to a good place. I know that John Logan and Sam Mendes have come up with a plot for another one, which takes the pressure off because these films take up a lot of time.”
While it’s by no means confirmation that Mendes will be returning to the director’s chair, it is encouraging that he’s involved on a creative level. It’s actually been rather uncommon for one director to stick around Bond’s MI6 after giving their first pieces. Guy Hamilton directed four Bond films, but only three of them were consecutive. John Glen has directed the most at five (For Your Eyes Only through License to Kill), but since 1989 only one director has directed two Bond films: Martin Campbell, who introduced both Pierce Brosnan (in 1995’s GoldenEye) and Daniel Craig (in 2006’s Casino Royale) to the role.
If he does return, Mendes would be the first director to do so in two consecutive films since John Glen’s return in 1983’s Octopussy. However just because it’s rare doesn’t mean that it’s impossible.
Onto comic book adaptations! It seems that work is already beginning on Marc Webb’s sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man. A character from the comics that was previously off the table appears to be back in the running for a part in the film! Let’s take a look, shall we?
Harry Osborn to Return in Amazing Spider-Man sequel?
In addition to the news surrounding Mary Jane Watson’s return to Spider-Man on film in the form of actress Shailene Woodley, it looks like Peter’s best friend may be making his way back as well. In an exclusive report from The Hollywood Reporter, there are apparently four actors that are up for the important role, and according to THR, they are Sam Claflin (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Snow White and the Huntsman), Eddie Redmayne (My Week with Marilyn, Les Misérables), Douglas Booth (LOL, Noah), and Boyd Holbrook (Hatfields & McCoys, The Host).
Harry Osborn was a cornerstone character of the last trilogy of Spider-Man films helmed by Sam Raimi, where he was played by actor James Franco. Osborn is also an integral character in traditional Spider-Man comics mythology, where, as the son of the Green Goblin, he’s been anything from a friend, a hero, a villain, and even deceased for a good long while until an unpopular Spider-Man retcon brought him back to life. I’m personally a fan of the character, since he’s stuck in an interesting position as the son of (arguably) Spidey’s best villain and the best friend of our hero.
Putting that dynamic into this film series (presuming dear daddy Norman appears) could make for some very interesting interactions between one of these actors and Andrew Garfield. There’s already presumably going to be the famous Peter/Gwen/MJ love triangle on-screen for the first time, which shows that the sequel is going to be digging a little deeper for what will hopefully be the ultimate Spider-Man (no pun intended) experience.
Rian Johnson on the Future of the Dark Knight
In a report from Jett at Batman-on-Film (via FlickeringMyth), director Rian Johnson (of Brick and Looper fame) went on the record about a very interesting hypothetical scenario: him directing the first post-Nolan Batman film. While there’s no definitive statement about whether or not he would be absolutely interested, when answering he did gush a little bit about his apparent love for Batman, and Batman films past and present:
“I like that hypothetical. You know I love Batman, I didn't grow up reading the comics but Batman movies, when that first Tim Burton Batman movie came out that kind of defined, in kind of like a weird way for the generation that I was in, that first Batman movie in a way it defined what a blockbuster was for me, more so than any of the '70s movies. When that first Batman movie hit it was like this cultural volcano that defined what the superhero blockbuster was in a way that was just completely drew me in as a kid. So Batman is definitely the one superhero movie franchise that I'm 100% just completely in love with, and I love [Christopher] Nolan's so much man. Right now I'm just focusing on doing my own thing. And that hypothetical that you mentioned has so many variables to it in terms of what kind of movie they're looking to make and all of that so, you know, that call hasn't happened and in the meanwhile I'm not gonna sit by the phone, I'm just gonna keep writing my own stuff.”
While it’s probably too early to start seriously talking about the director of the next Batman film (at least for fans), I definitely think that he’d make for an interesting choice. Looper had a singular vision that captivated a lot of peoples’ imaginations, and with that kind of precision applied to the next Batman film, it’d definitely make a statement to fans that Warner Bros. is not just trying to clone the Christopher Nolan films. I have to admit, that if I had to choose a comics character that I’d like Johnson to direct it would probably be the Flash, just because the grounded tone of the fantastical scenes in Looper give me the idea that he could show super-speed in a very dynamic way. But, if Johnson or someone in his class is chosen to take on the Dark Knight’s future, then I would be far from unhappy.
Quite a bit of news on the science-fiction front from both the forthcoming Star Trek film, as well as the Star Wars universe. Let’s navigate into space and get some sensor readings.
Two Directors Out of the Running for Episode VII
As was reported right here at Movies.com yesterday, two directors have been shown not to be up for the coveted job of bringing Star Wars back to the silver screen. Colin Trevorrow of Safety Not Guaranteed fame confirmed he’s not going to be directing the film, hot on the heels of a similar announcement from fan-favored director Brad Bird (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol). See the Twitter exchange for yourself here.
I’m a little disappointed that Bird has confirmed he won’t be sitting in the chair, but it’s very difficult to tell who they’ll pick at this point. If Lucasfilm and Disney are paying any attention to us (which I’m reasonably sure they aren’t), we had two very good suggestions for directors from both Erik Davis and myself! Give them a look see, if you have some time to kill.
First Looks at Star Trek Into Darkness Coming December 14
December 14 is going to be a great day for geeks everywhere. For fantasy fans, Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens nationwide in conventional and IMAX theaters, and with it, we’ll finally be getting our long overdue look at J.J. Abrams’ next crack at the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise with May’s Star Trek Into Darkness.
TrekMovie broke both stories, with news of a whopping nine-minute preview of the film serving as a lead-in to IMAX 3D showings of The Hobbit, similarly to Christopher Nolan’s use of both I Am Legend’s and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’s IMAX screenings to introduce both The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. The second story details that a conventional first trailer for the film will be premiering that same day in non-IMAX screenings of the same film (along with trailers for both James Mangold’s The Wolverine and Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel). December 14 will definitely be a day marked on the calendars of Star Trek fans, since the entire project is even more sheltered and secretive than its predecessor was (which is saying something).
Comparatively with 2009’s Star Trek, which had its first bare-bones teaser trailer premiere in January of 2008 (nearly one-and-a-half years before release) in front of Cloverfield, Star Trek Into Darkness has been keeping secrets about every facet of the production. After some unsubstantiated rumors that Benedict Cumberbatch’s villainous role in the film would be anyone from Gary Mitchell to Khan Noonien Singh, they were all struck down by people in the know and we now stand clueless as to who the villain of the film is.
This is a little bit strange, given that other major blockbusters have elected to reveal the role of the villains relatively early on in the process, with the most notable recent example being the revelation that Tom Hardy would play Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. That role was reported officially in a press release from January 2011, a full 18 months before the film’s release. Star Trek Into Darkness releases on May 17, just under seven months away.
My Pick This Week at the Comic Shop (Releasing 11/21)
This week, Marvel NOW! rolls on with the release of Captain America (Vol. 7) #1 by the creative team of writer Rick Remender (Uncanny Avengers, The Punisher) and John Romita, Jr. (The Amazing Spider-Man, Avengers vs. X-Men). As I said a couple of weeks ago when writer Ed Brubaker concluded his seven-year run with the Star-Spangled Avenger, Remender will definitely have a tough act to follow given the heights that Cap soared to under Brubaker’s guidance. Remender is definitely proving to be a force to be reckoned with at Marvel, with celebrated runs on titles like Uncanny X-Force and Venom, as well as launching Marvel’s flagship relaunch book Uncanny Avengers.
That does it this week on the Geek Beat. Feel free to comment below, then check back next week for the latest and greatest news from the worlds of sci-fi, fantasy, comics and just plain awesomeness.
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.