ScreenCrush’s Comic Strip is a weekly roundup of the hottest superhero movie/TV news items. From Marvel to DC and points in between, if it pertains to costumed comic book heroes, we’re covering it here, bringing you our expert analysis. This week, our first look at Aquaman brings with it some Batman vs. Superman spoilers, Suicide Squad casts a new supervillain, and Joss Whedon waxes poetic about Avengers 2.
Batman vs. Superman Story Details Arrive With the New Aquaman (and Other DC News)
You’ve surely seen it by now. Director Zack Snyder revealed the first image of Jason Momoa as Aquaman and it looks exactly how you’d imagine a Zack Snyder-designed Aquaman to look like. Although some people will be quick to compare this look to Momoa’s Khal Drogo on Game of Thrones, it’s really a fairy faithful recreation of ’90s Aquaman, which saw DC Comics bending over backwards to made their squarest character hip and cool. But hey, we like Momoa and we like Snyder about 75% of the time, so we won’t judge anything too harshly yet.
Of course, that image also comes with that weird tagline, “Unite the seven.” And, of course, the internet reliably get into a fight with itself over the meaning of this phrase. Some argued that it refers to the formation of the Justice League (ding-ding-ding) but others thought it may refer to the seven seas, or even factions of Aquaman’s Atlantean kingdom. In order to prove the former and refute the latter, Badass Digest spilled some details about Batman vs. Superman, which will be the first movie to introduce this shaggy new Aquaman. Minor spoilers are ahead, so you know what to do:
The problem with this is that, as of the shooting script, that was not even remotely the case. As of the shooting script Aquaman is barely even present, showing up only in a survey of metahumans by Lex Luthor and then again at the very ending, when Batman recruits him for the Justice League (see: Dawn of Justice as the title). Now, it’s possible that as shooting has gone on and as the Justice League script has come into shape that something has been added to BvS. In the script Aquaman and Flash really just have cameos, but perhaps having the actors available and knowing where they’re going in the future has allowed Zack Snyder and Chris Terrio to add in some tidbits about the future movies. Maybe the Aquaman movie will be about Aquaman uniting the undersea kingdoms. But in BvS? No way.
He also mentions that the Batman vs. Superman script didn’t feature Green Lantern, which means that they are really uniting the six in this particular movie. Unless the script has changed, which wouldn’t be surprising at all. In any case, this movie really seems to be trying to replicate the impact of The Avengers on fast-forward, throwing together a team of superheroes as fast as possible for the Justice League movie without giving them solo movies first. We will wait and see if this works, but it surely won’t have the delayed, awesome gratification of Marvel’s big team-up.
If you’re wondering what man is responsible for designing Momoa’s scaly armor, that would be costume designer Michael Wilkinson. When asked about his work, he responded with a statement that sounds like it was cooked by an artificial intelligence programmed to create answers that guarantee a secrecy contract isn’t breached in any way:
It has been a thrill and an honor to bring this iconic character to life for a modern audience. Zack Snyder has a brilliant vision for making this character powerful and relevant. I enjoyed designing a costume that reflects this vision and honors the character’s rich legacy.
But let’s step away from Aquaman for a moment and delve into the soon-to-shoot Suicide Squad. More specifically, let’s let Will Smith delve into Suicide Squad, since he recently spoke about how he wants to create the ultimate cinematic incarnation of Deadshot. Since this is the character’s first big screen appearance, anything he does will be ultimate by default, but c‘mon, you get what he’s trying to say:
With this character and the DC world, I love that I’m getting the opportunity for the global definition of Deadshot. There’s been Deadshot in little appearances here and there, there’s an idea, but Deadshot isn’t defined, really. I get to be a part of the creation that will be the biggest historical image of Deadshot.
Meanwhile, Jared Leto rambled about the “beautiful disaster” that is the Joker and called his take “Shakespearian.” Hey! Jared Leto may be crazy enough in real life to make this Joker casting work out after all!
But enough about Deadshot and the Joker. You’re really hear because you want to all about Hostel star Jay Hernandez joining the Suicide Squad cast as the C-list villain El Diablo! Okay, so that may not be the most exciting news in the world, but it comes as part of a larger rumor that says that the character will pop up very briefly in a prison scene that also teases a whole bunch of other minor DC villains, including Killer Frost and King Shark.
The fact that King freakin’ Shark may be in this movie is proof that we really do live in the age of miracles. Oh, and here’s director David Ayer testing a flamethrower. Spoiler alert: one of the characters in Suicide Squad will use a flamethrower.
As Batman vs. Superman heads into post-production and Suicide Squad gets ready to go before cameras, Michelle MacLaren’s Wonder Woman is looking at a Fall start date. You know what that means: we should be hearing more about that movie’s cast very soon.
Deadpool and X-Men: Apocalypse Are Filming Soon (and They Won’t Let You Forget That)
It’s easy to see how Ryan Reynolds and the the rest of the Deadpool cast and crew are going to market this movie on social media (and the inevitable talk show circuit). This isn’t just another superhero movie. Oh, no. This is the superhero movie that, you, the fans, helped get made because you watched that leaked test footage. Yes, you. You are important. Here’s Reynolds taking to Twitter to thank you for getting Deadpool made:
You’ll notice that that tweet tags co-stars T.J. Miller (as Deadpool’s sidekick of some kind), Ed Skrein (as the villain), and Gina Carano (as the Mutant known as Angel Dust), but it also tags Firefly and Homeland star Morena Baccarin. Because yes, she has finally and officially joined the cast a few weeks of rumors. However, we also know who will not be joining the cast: Daniel Cudmore. Deadpool will feature the metal-skinned superhero Colossus, but he will not be played by the man who portrayed him in X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand. Sorry, guy. At least he’s taking it well on the Twitter:
Speaking of recast Mutants, X-Men: Apocalypse continued its recasting spree by getting Kodi Smit-McPhee to play the new Nightcrawler. That’s solid casting since that kid looks born to play a blue-skinned teleporting superhero with a German accent. Meanwhile, Evan Peters made some noise about how Quicksilver will probably return, but he also implied that nothing has been confirmed.
All of the New Chatter About Avengers 2
The answer is yes, but since this Joss Whedon, he went on to explain exactly why he made changes to Ultron’s abilities in exacting detail:
The powers in comic books – they’re always like, ‘And then I can reverse the polarity of your ions!’ – well, we have to ground things a lot more. With Ultron, we have to make him slightly less omnipotent because he’d win. Bottom line. Also, having weaknesses and needs and foibles and alliances and actually caring what people think of him, all these things, are what make him a character and not just a tidal wave. A movie about a tidal wave can be great, but it’s different than a conflict between one side and the other. When Ultron speaks, he has a point. He is really not on top of the fact that the point he’s making has nothing to do with the fact that he’s banoonoos. And that he hates the Avengers for bringing him into this world, and he can’t really articulate that or even understand how much he hates humanity. He thinks he’s all that. That guy is very fun to write. He combines all the iconic stuff. The powers he has are slightly different – he can control certain things, he’s not just firing repulsors.
Whedon continued to talk about the film’s villains, moving on to the subject of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. It turns out that they’re in the movie for a really good reason … Whedon really, really needed someone for Ultron to talk to:
They have an origin but it’s largely described. They’re already good to go by the time we’re up and running. You don’t want to fall into Spider-Man 3 territory – and I say that as a guy who actually thinks pretty well of that movie, there’s some great stuff in that movie – but there comes a point where you’re overloaded with frontstory, backstory, origin story and it becomes very hard to juggle. My instinct is always, ‘Don’t put in more, work with what you have.’ But I insisted on putting in more in this movie because I felt I needed more villains. I needed someone for Ultron to talk to, and I need more trouble for the Avengers. As powerful as Ultron is, if he builds more Ultrons, they’re Ultrons. There’s no reason for him to ever to talk to them because they’re him. ‘I need you to – I KNOW! I AM TOTALLY YOU! I DID IT EARLIER! I know that because I am also me.’ That’s not a good conversation. Actually, it sounded pretty good there. I think I’m onto something.
Meanwhile, Scarlett Johansson said that the sequel will delve into Black Widow’s dark past, confirming what we’ve been hearing for a long time now. How, exactly, the film will fit this into what seems like an overstuffed movie is unknown, but we can’t wait to find out. Here’s her quote:
People were surprised that I wanted to play a comic book heroine. But I loved Iron Man, and I met with Marvel to see what was possible. I had done my research, and the Black Widow character resonated with me. She is dark and has faced death so many times that she has a deep perspective on the value of life. In the sequel, you learn more about the sadness in her past. I think of her that way. Black Widow is a superhero, but she’s also human. She’s small, but she’s strong. It’s hard not to admire her.
I think he’s definitely matured a little bit since the last one. He’s become more acclimated to this thing and to being part of the team. I think he feels more a part of them all. But in this particular take on it, it’s a much more character-driven version of The Avengers than the first one. It gets a little deeper into each character. S.H.I.E.L.D. is not happening anymore, so there’s not that much time spent with the S.H.I.E.L.D. stuff. I feel that every character has their own cool little thing happening. I had great stuff in the last one but there’s even more stuff in this one. It’s nice, because I know this character now after playing him twice…
And here’s him on the future of the character. More specifically, here’s him on why Marvel hasn’t gotten around to making a solo Hulk movie yet:
It’s a tough nut to crack. Traditionally you’re watching a guy who doesn’t want to do the very thing that you want him to do. It’s hard to take for two hours. I don’t know how many times you can use that same framing for it, but now he’s maturing and there’s a cool dynamic growing between Banner and The Hulk. And the CGI is so much better. The stuff we can do now, you can do a real performance. I’ve been working with Andy Serkis [at his Imaginarium studio] and he has it set up where you go in there and you just start working on a character. It is so exciting to me, because I can do whatever I can imagine, with a team of people of course.
This new Gotham featurette gives us a glimpse of the new Red Hood.
And this new Arrow featurette gives us a look at the upcoming fight scenes between Oliver Queen and Captain Boomerang.