With 2009 a slim year for Marvel, Iron Man 2 was scheduled for release on April 30, 2010, giving the movie a little less than two years to be completed, much to director Jon Favreau's chagrin. On his MySpace forum, Favreau mentions that neither he nor Robert Downey, Jr. were consulted about the release date, and that both were "concerned about how realistic the date is in light of the fact that we have no script, story, or even writers hired yet." Enter screenwriter Justin Theroux (Tropic Thunder), and an extra week, setting the new release date at May 7, 2010. Use those extra days wisely!
Marvel was hardly done surprising those involved with the sequel. Marvel surprised actor Terrence Howard by closing negotiations with him (he was the highest paid actor in the original and reportedly didn't want to take a pay cut). Marvel replaced him with Don Cheadle.
With that casting ugliness behind them, Favreau and company can now concentrate on what's going to happen to Tony Stark in Iron Man 2. In an interview with AICN, Favreau spoke about wanting to keep the lighter tone of the original while introducing the darker element of Stark's alcoholism that was explored in the comic book. And that's not the only development.
Theroux told UGO that reports of War Machine having a limited role were "all nonsense" (meaning Howard's prophetic statement of "Next time" will not be ignored), while casting notices have inferred the possibility of Black Widow and Crimson
Dynamo arriving in the sequel.
Thor (July 16)
With Iron Man 2 setting the table in May, the next Avenger to hit theaters is Thor. Kenneth Branagh will direct a script from I Am Legend scribe Mark Protosevich. Branagh says no one has been cast yet as Thor, though rumors are swirling around Daniel Craig (not true) and Kevin McKidd (possibly true).
Branagh told MTV to expect a story "about one of the immortals, Gods, extraordinary beings, inter-dimensional creatures," that is also "a
human story right in the center of a big epic scenario."
With director Greg Berlanti writing a third draft of the screenplay alongside comic book writer Marc Guggenheim, Green Lantern is the closest thing DC has to a viable movie in the works. Guggenheim spilled about the production, telling MTV that "the design work is truly mind blowing" and "the shots on Oa are spectacular." Some of those designs are on display at ComicBookMovie. Guggenheim also discussed the possibility of a cameo by Superman in the Green Lantern movie, but provided no particulars.
So with a script almost complete, and Australian states Victoria and New South Wales competing for the opportunity to house the production, Green Lantern seems well on its way, even with no one cast in the lead role. Rumors over who will play Hal Jordan range from Ryan Gosling to rapper-actor
Common, who told CNN in December that was he was slated to play Green Lantern in the
Justice League movie, but "because the movie didn't happen, I'm not the Green Lantern right now, but God willing, as the movie comes back together, I will be able to be the Green Lantern." It seems like Common is only talking about the Justice League
project and not the individual Green Lantern movie, and wouldn't they want the same actor to do both?
The Flash movie was supposed to gain momentum after Justice League: Mortal was released. With a script coming from David Goyer (Blade) and direction from David Dobson (Fred Claus), The Flash looked like a promising movie initially, however, Goyer left in 2007, and now its momentum seems locked into whether Justice League: Mortal ever reaches production because without it, The Flash is going nowhere fast.
With First Avenger opening two months before The Avengers, the summer of 2011 looks to be very Avenger-y. Joe Johnston (Jurassic Park III) will direct the script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, the writers of the Chronicles of Narnia.
The movie will take place during World War II and will show Steve Rogers enlisting in Super Soldier program to help fight the Nazis. The plot could involve Tony Stark's father, Howard, as he was said to have worked for the government in Iron Man and Captain America's shield appears in the background in Tony Stark's
lab. Iron Man screenwriter Mark Fergus confirmed at least some involvement of Howard Stark to MTV News: "Basically, Tony was a young adult or a teenager when his father died and that relationship will be played up in a lot of cool ways in other Marvel movies."
With only Iron Man as a solid success to build on, Marvel has taken a huge gamble with The Avengers, but have to feel good knowing it is already a highly anticipated movie, even without a director or screenwriter in place. Iron Man director Jon Favreau will produce and Robert Downey, Jr. and Don Cheadle will star
with the as-of-yet uncast stars of Thor and Captain America, a very likely Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, and either Edward Norton, or his replacement should his falling out with Marvel continue.
But will the Hulk be friend or foe? Those that saw the end of The Incredible Hulk saw Tony Stark interested in recruiting, but director Louis Leterrier told MTV: "I left the door open for whoever's going to direct The Avengers with our last shot. Edward
[Norton] and I, we consciously decided to make the last shot of the movie when he opens his eyes and he smirks at the camera. Is he enjoying it? Is he malicious? You don't know if he's a good guy or bad guy."
Another rumored casting may be Eva Longoria, who was photographed leaving Marvel Studios with a stack of Avengers comics and is the rumored choice to play the Wasp, the small but mighty original member of the Avengers.
If Wonder Woman actually reaches theaters by 2011, it will mean a good 10 years of production, dating to 2001 when producer Joel Silver first commissioned a screenplay. From there, Wonder Woman has passed through several high profile hands, from Joss Whedon stepping in to write and direct in 2005 before leaving two years later, to McG rumored to be given the directing gig, Wonder Woman has embodied the
industry phrase "development hell." Silver admitted to SuperheroHype in November 2008, that Wonder Woman has "been in a constant state of development; we've just not been able to find the right way to do it yet." That's one way to put it.
Should Wonder Woman ever reach production, there will be no shortage of actresses clamoring for the role, from Beyonce to America Ferrera, though one fan desperately wants Megan Fox to get the role.
Bryan Singer's Superman Returns made $391 million
dollars worldwide, yet was considered a bust because it wasn't a bigger success, prompting Warner Bros. President Jeff Robinov to tell the Wall Street Journal: "Superman didn't quite work as a film in the way that we wanted it to. It didn't position the character the way he needed to be positioned."
The proposed sequel, Superman: Man of Steel, is currently in limbo, with Singer dodging
questions about his involvement in the movie, before
admitting to UGO: "I am not officially involved in the talk, no...I have relationships with Warner Brothers and with the character and, and, and, and it's just the way things work out."
Initially planned as the film to break in the other heroes without their own movies -- Green Lantern, The Flash, and Wonder Woman -- Warner Bros. has changed its mind and is now going the Avengers route and introducing the individual characters first.
Justice League might still get made, however, as slated director George Miller (Mad Max) denied rumors he was off the project, meaning there is still hope. However, the rumored actors to play the costumed heroes, mostly a stable of unknowns, may change due to the success or failures of the individual
In fact, many things about the Justice League movie may change. Perhaps once other DC heroes have their own movies, it will make more sense to add Christopher Nolan's Batman, or maybe they can make a Justice League without Batman, as sacrilegious as that would be to comics fans. One thing's for sure, they're not giving up. Warner Bros. president Jeff Robinov told Variety in August 2008: "We're not off the notion of a Justice League. There's a massive interest and knowledge in the comic book industry and it takes time to sort of catch up and understand the characters and the history, where they've intersected with each other and what their worlds are. That's part of the education that we're going through."
Meaning, "We're not sure what we're going to do, but we sure want to do something that makes money."