Comic-Con Ketchup: Marvel Confirms Monster Lineup of Future Projects

Due to the deluge of announcements at this year's San Diego Comic-Con, here's a special edition of the Weekly Ketchup to bring you the rest of the news not already covered in the Friday edition, most of which wasn't actually news from the convention itself, but was stuff announced before Comic-Con, or in the spirit of the Con. This edition includes tons of Marvel Studios projects, and updates from directors Guillermo del Toro (Pacific Rim and, maybe, Hellboy 3) and Peter Jackson (The Hobbit).


This Week's Top Story

MARVEL'S AVENGERS VICTORY LAP CONTINUES WITH ANT-MAN, CAPTAIN AMERICA 2, THOR 2, AND GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

Marvel's Saturday panel in the enormous Hall H at San Diego Comic was billed as being for Iron Man 3 (and we'll get to that movie in just a bit), but arguably the real buzz-worthy news from that panel mostly concerned four other movies. Marvel Studios officially announced titles for Thor: The Dark World (11/8/13) and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (4/4/14), and confirmed what most of us already knew, which is that Guardians of the Galaxy is coming as well (8/1/14). Included with that revelation was concept art for the team, the movie version of which will have five members: Star Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Groot, and Rocket Racoon (who in particular looks more alien, and less obviously "raccoon-like" than past portrayals). The fifth movie that was teased in the panel was Edgar Wright's adaptation of Avengers founding member Ant-Man, the recently filmed test footage for which Wright was on hand to present. As for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, that title alone was enough to whip up the excitement among many comics fans, both at the convention and online, as it basically confirmed rumors that the sequel will be inspired by Ed Brubaker's run on the comic. (Though this writer won't spoil the movie for non-comics-fans by discussing exactly who or what the "Winter Soldier" is a reference to.) The news about Captain America: The Winter Soldier continues even after SDCC today, as just recently, the news broke that Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker) has been cast in the sequel, almost certainly as Sam Wilson, AKA The Falcon, the flying-wing-enhanced character most identified as Captain America's modern, post-World-War-II "sidekick."

Fresh Developments This Week

#1 ROBERT DOWNEY, JR. AND FRIENDS ENTERTAIN AT THE IRON MAN 3 PANEL

The Iron Man 3 panel on Saturday at the massive Hall H got started with a title card that proudly exclaimed that on May 3, 2013, "Phase 2" of the Marvel Cinematic Universe gets fully underway. Stars Robert Downey, Jr, Don Cheadle, and Jon Favreau were joined on stage by director Shane Black and Marvel's Kevin Feige, and all accounts are that the 6,500+ fans in attendance were treated to dozens of funny comments and insights. There was also a sizzle reel preview presentation that showed the new "Extremis"-fueled armor in action, along with visual confirmation that Sir Ben Kingsley is indeed playing Iron Man's archenemy the Mandarin in Iron Man 3. Downey and Cheadle also revealed that their contracts are pretty much up after Iron Man 3, so there will undoubtedly be new negotiations for any future films (including The Avengers 2), for which Downey will have to decide exactly which "Brinks truck" he wants (as in an armored truck full of cash). There's a lot more than what can be quickly summarized here, so check out that recap over at Collider.com, linked above.


#2 MIGHT PETER JACKSON ACTUALLY FILM ENOUGH OF THE HOBBIT FOR A THIRD MOVIE?

If one needs evidence that just too much cool stuff happens these days at a typical Comic-Con, consider that this following news nugget basically got lost in the mix at many movie news sites. At the Con as part of the Warner Bros panel which covered the two film adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, director Peter Jackson revealed that he wants to continue shooting more footage for The Hobbit. How that footage might be used is what's of extreme interest: it might either be used for an extended version of the two films, or... Jackson might just end up retooling the two films so that there's actually a THIRD film chapter of The Hobbit. Keep in mind that Jackson wanting to shoot more doesn't necessarily mean that he will be able to, but if Peter Jackson has the will... Warner Bros can probably find the way.


#3 GODZILLA AND PACIFIC RIM TEASERS WOW THE CON

Speaking of the Warner Bros panel on Saturday, as big as The Hobbit might be, that studio has two other movies that are literally much bigger, and they both got teased. First up was a clip package for Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim, which features an epic global war between giant monsters and equally giant robots called Jaegers. Along with all that, we also learned a lot more about the film in general, which you can read about at that link. Pacific Rim was followed up by a teaser presentation of test footage for Warner Bros' reboot of Godzilla, to be directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters). Warner Bros may be getting steadily and consistently shown up on the super hero front by the sheer volume of movies based on Marvel characters (both from Marvel itself and other studios), but it's clear that in the giant monster business... Warner Bros has something of an impending monopoly.


#4 GUILLERMO DEL TORO'S FUTURE MAY INCLUDE HELLBOY 3 AFTER ALL

Over the course of the last few years, there have been a lot of movie announcements involving Guillermo Del Toro, and every time his slate got that much bigger, the possibility of a third Hellboy movie seemed slighter and slighter. Some of these possible GDT movies (and this probably isn't even close to a complete list) include adaptations of Beauty and the Beast, Drood, Frankenstein, The Haunted Mansion, and Slaughterhouse-Five. Recently, however, Ron Perlman put the big red guy's makeup and costume back on for the Make-A-Wish foundation, and this may have been just enough to get Perlman and GDT closer to deciding to bump Hellboy 3 up as a priority. Here's what Ron Perlman had to say, "Everything that was done in both movies was leading up to this destiny, written in stone, of what Hellboy has been summoned to Earth to do. To not do it, particularly in light of the scope that Guillermo is thinking of for the resolve, would be in my mind a little bit of a shame." There may not even be a studio commitment yet (Sony and Universal released the first two films, respectively). It sounds, however, like 66% of the people most integral to the Hellboy franchise (Mike Mignola being the third) still want it to happen.


#5 DWAYNE JOHNSON CONFIRMS THOSE LOBO RUMORS

Technically, this one wasn't really a San Diego Comic-Con story, but it's definitely more in the original spirit of the convention than, say, The Twilight Saga. On Sunday, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson confirmed via a website called "Twitter" that, "Rumors of me possibly playing LOBO are true. Joel Silver and Brad Peyton working on it now. That could be fun..." For those unfamiliar, the Lobo that Johnson is referring to is the white skinned, tough talking alien roughneck as published by DC Comics (and not the NBC sheriff TV series starring Claude Akins from 1979 to 1981). The Brad Peyton that Johnson mentions is the director of such films as Journey 2: The Mysterious Island and Cats & Dogs: The Revenger of Kitty Galore. Normally, one might suspect that Peyton's involvement would be enough to make this story a "Rotten Idea," but this story is really more about Johnson's involvement. And that aspect is definitely a Fresh Development, as Dwayne Johnson's career definitely needs more projects like Lobo right now. Presuming, of course, that the eventual Lobo movie isn't a completely kiddie-friendly neutering of the original character (which might be presuming too much, admittedly).


#6 CREEPY TO REVITALIZE THE HORROR ANTHOLOGY GENRE

Creepy was a horror comic anthology magazine that was published by Warren Publishing (also the company behind Eerie and Vampirella) from 1964 to 1983. Along the way, the magazine was home to stories written and/or drawn by some of the giants of the comics industry, including Neal Adams, Gene Colan, Richard Corben, Steve Ditko, Frank Frazetta, Alex Toth, and Bernie Wrightson. Because it was a magazine, and not a comic book, Creepy didn't have to follow any of the rules of the Comics Code Authority, which meant that its stories could be as gruesome, violent or erotic as the artists felt like being. And that note brings us to (well, not really)... Chris Columbus, the director of the first two Harry Potter movies. Columbus, a lifetime fan of Creepy, has made a deal with the holding company that now owns the rights to Creepy, to write and produce a segment in a new Creepy horror anthology film. There's no word yet as to what other writers or directors might also participate in the project.


#7 STEAMPUNK ADVENTURES FOR JOE GOLEM AND THE DROWNING CITY

Joe Golem and the Drowning City is a recently published graphic novel by Mike Mignola (Hellboy) and Christopher Golden, a prolific YA author whose many books include titles in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer franchise. The book is set in a Steampunk-flavored alternate reality where an earthquake has sunk parts of Manhattan. Constantin Film has acquired the rights to Joe Golem and the Drowning City with the intent of adapting it as a live action film to be directed by Alex Proyas (The Crow, Dark City, I, Robot).





#8 INDIE COMIC MY FRIEND DAHMER TO BECOME INDIE MOVIE

Every year, San Diego Comic-Con becomes even more "Hollywood" (and not necessarily all about "comic books"). So, it's perhaps getting easier to forget about "indie comics," which at one time, were sort of what SDCC was all about (as evidenced by the Eisner Awards, in particular). This year's indie spirit in both comics and movies might be best represented, in this column, at least, by My Friend Dahmer, an autobiographical comic based upon Derk Backderf's 1970s experiences as a friend of future serial killer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer. "Set in the bizarre world of 1970s suburbia, Jeff Dahmer, a troubled teenager, descends into darkness as his divorcing parents, high school teachers, and peers stand by and do nothing. Told through the eyes of his friend Derf, this is a touching, realistic look at some oddball teens trying to find their identities in the tumultuous 1970's." My Friend Dahmer will be produced by writer/director Marc Meyers, whose indie films include 2011's Harvest and the Sundance Channel's Approaching Union Square.


#9 THOMAS JANE RETURNS AS THE PUNISHER... SORT OF

Not all fan fiction videos are divided equally. Sometimes, these unofficial videos featuring trademarked fictional characters are directed by people like Phil Joanou (Gridiron Gang), and feature Hollywood actors like Thomas Jane and Ron Perlman. And one of them, called Dirty Laundry, had those exact features, giving the world a 10 minute return of Thomas Jane as The Punisher, and you can now watch it online over at ComingSoon.net. The short film never actually comes right out and says that Thomas Jane is Frank Castle, but there's enough of a wink-wink at the end for one to get the message that it's him. The rights to The Punisher are reportedly back at Marvel Studios now, because Lionsgate only ever had one-picture deals for the character. However, Marvel hasn't yet made any announcements about returning The Punisher to the big screen, so this may be the closest thing we have again for at least a few years.

Rotten Ideas of the Week

You know what, folks? None of this news is Rotten. Not really.

For more Weekly Ketchup columns by Greg Dean Schmitz, check out the WK archive, and you can contact GDS via Facebook.

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