Today’s Ketchup brings you another 10 headlines from the world of film development news, covering titles such as Duke Nukem, Plastic Man, The Toxic Avenger, and Pixar’s Onward.
When Marvel’s Doctor Strange was released in 2016, it didn’t feature any hosts of Hoggoth (hoary or otherwise), but that spell and dozens of other franchise elements remain out there for a sequel. This has been a big year for new Marvel Studios projects going into development for 2021 and beyond, including Black Widow, The Eternals, Ms. Marvel, Black Panther 2, and most recently, Shang-Chi. In the first three phases, there was a balance between original films and sequels, but as you can see from those five films, the focus in 2018 has thus far been on new properties, with Black Panther 2 being the only direct sequel. A Doctor Strange sequel was conspicuously absent, but that changed this week as director Scott Derrickson was confirmed to return for a second installment. Benedict Cumberbatch and Benedict Wong are both signed to return, and Rachel McAdams is expected to as well. Filming of Doctor Strange 2 is expected to start in early 2020, possibly aiming for a release in early May (or late April) of 2021. As for what Doctor Strange 2 might introduce to the Marvel Cinematic Universe next, there are lots of possibilities (though it probably involves either Baron Mordo or Nightmare, or both).
Pixar introduced the first teasers for next summer’s Toy Story 4 a few weeks back, but we were still lacking details about another film scheduled for 2020, including its title. Pixar corrected that this week with the revelation that the “suburban fantasy” will be called Onward, will be directed by Dan Scanlon (Monsters University), and feature the voices of Chris Pratt, Tom Holland, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Octavia Spencer. Pratt and Holland are both Marvel Studios stars (Star-Lord and Spider-Man, respectively), and Octavia Spencer will co-star in Robert Downey’ Jr’s The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle, also in 2020 (1/17/2020). Although Onward is described as a “suburban fantasy,” it remains unclear what that means exactly. Onward is scheduled for release on March 6, 2020, which puts it a week after Fantasy Island (2/28/2020) and a week before the X-Men spinoff Gambit, starring Channing Tatum (3/13/2020). In related news, the first trailer for Tom Holland’s next solo Marvel movie, Spider-Man: Far From Home (7/5/2019) debuted in Brazil this week.
One of the elements that unites almost all “Bond girls” to date is that the characters almost never return for a second film (although some like Maud Adams have played different characters). French actress Lea Seydoux, who co-starred in Spectre as Madeleine Swann, is going to buck the trend, however, as she will reprise her character in the 25th James Bond film. Bohemian Rhapsody star Rami Malek was reportedly considered for the film’s villain, but conflicts with the filming of his TV series Mr. Robot are likely preventing him from being cast. Cary Joji Fukunaga (Beasts of No Nation, Sin Nombre) will be directing Daniel Craig in his fifth film as James Bond when it’s released on February 14th, Valentine’s Day, in 2020.
Dozens of actors were featured in Game of Thrones, and next year, we’re going to start to really see a deluge of new projects for them, as the show’s final season has finished principal production. Obviously, some of them have already been taking work in between seasons, particularly those who left the show before season 7. One such young actor is Dean-Charles Chapman, who is not (yet) a household name, but is known to fans as King Tommen Baratheon in seasons 4, 5 and 6. Universal Pictures and Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners have teamed up on a film called 1917, starring Chapman and George MacKay (Captain Fantastic). 1917 is the next film of director Sam Mendes, whose record behind the camera on the Tomatometer is entirely Fresh, including Certified Fresh scores for American Beauty and Skyfall. 1917’s title refers to the fourth year of World War I, the year in which the United States entered the war (4/6/1917). That McKay and Chapman are both English actors, however, suggests a British perspective. 1917 will open in limited released on December 25, 2019 (against Call of the Wild, Little Women, and Super Intelligence), and then expand wide on January 10, 2020.
What a difference ten years can make. In 2008, director and producer Zack Snyder (Justice League, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) chided his Marvel competition, saying, “we’re going to have a Captain America movie if we’re not careful.” The positive reviews for the brighter perspectives of Wonder Woman (Certified Fresh at 93%), Teen Titans Go! to the Movies (Certified Fresh at 91%), and Aquaman (currently Fresh at 72%) suggest that critics and audiences alike want superhero movies that aren’t always so grim (the verdict is still out on whether that would work for a Batman movie, of course). This week, DC Comics revealed plans for the hero who might be the lightest yet (even more so than next year’s Shazam!), namely the super stretchy shapeshifter Plastic Man. First introduced in 1941, Plastic Man also had his own Saturday morning cartoon from 1979 to 1981. (Some sources are also comparing Plastic Man to Deadpool.) Although the Wachowskis (The Matrix, Speed Racer) had at one time been developing their own Plastic Man (the screenplay of which read a bit like a take on The Mask), the new Plastic Man will be written by newcomer Amanda Idoko (who also wrote the upcoming Breaking News In Yuba County, starring Laura Dern and Allison Janney).
Last month, we learned that Ewan McGregor had been cast as the villain Black Mask in the lengthily titled Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn). That will be Margot Robbie’s second film as Harley Quinn, and her other teammates will include Mary Elizabeth Winstead (10 Cloverfield Lane) as Huntress, Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary, and Rosie Perez as Detective Renee Montoya. This week, we learned that Black Mask won’t be the only villain in BoP (&TFEOOHQ), as Chris Messina (TV’s The Mindy Project) has also been cast as the insane killer Victor Zsasz (AKA Mr. Zsasz). Zsasz’s most obvious physical elements are the dozens of scars he has all over his body for each of his victims, so Messina can probably look forward to a lengthy sit each morning in the makeup chair. In directly related news, Ali Wong has also been cast in the film as an “associate of Renee Montoya.” Warner Bros has scheduled Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn) for release on February 7, 2020 (up against another sequel, Peter Rabbit 2).
It appears unlikely that we will ever see director James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) directly work on another Marvel Studios film, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s done with the superhero genre. In October, we learned that Gunn had been hired by Marvel’s “distinguished competition” at Warner Bros to write the screenplay for Suicide Squad 2 (with an eye towards possibly directing). This week, the first trailer for Brightburn (which Gunn co-wrote and produced) debuted, and it revealed that the film appears to be a reinterpretation of Superman’s classic origin story. Put another way, “what if Kal-El was had been evil?” Elizabeth Banks will play the alien kid’s human stepmom when Brightburn crashes into theaters next year on May 24, 2019, up against Disney’s Aladdin remake, Brad Pitt’s Ad Astra, and the western biopic (Billy) The Kid.
Although the shark movie 47 Meters Down received a Rotten Tomatometer score of 54%, the film also earned a domestic box office take of $44 million from a budget of just $5.5 million, so it’s probably not surprising that it’s getting a sequel. Mandy Moore, Claire Holt, and Matthew Modine won’t be returning for the second film (for obvious reasons, at least for two of them), which will instead feature a new ensemble cast led by Nia Long and Corinne Foxx (daughter of Jamie). The other films swimming around 47 Meters Down: Uncaged on June 28, 2019 will be Ford v Ferrari (starring Christian Bale and Matt Damon), Limited Partners (with Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne, and Salma Hayek), and the untitled musical from director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire). We continue to be baffled why the sequel, once known as 47 Meters Down: The Next Chapter, refuses to embrace the admittedly obvious but far less clunky title 48 Meters Down.
Although both 1984’s The Toxic Avenger and 2000’s Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV received Fresh Tomatometer scores of 70%, the second film has an absolutely Rotten 0%, and the third film wasn’t even reviewed enough to earn a score. The Toxic Avenger became such a cult fan favorite that he became the company mascot of Troma Entertainment, the super low-budget production company behind such chestnuts as Blood Sucking Freaks, Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD, and Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead. Despite its gonzo origins, The Toxic Avenger is now being developed as a new big budget superhero franchise by Legendary Entertainment, the company behind The Dark Knight, Watchmen, and Godzilla. In addition to the four feature length movies, The Toxic Avenger was also adapted as “a stage musical production, a children’s cartoon TV series, and a Marvel comic.”
There was once a time during which video games were largely perceived as products for children or teenagers (and more specifically, teenaged boys). It was at the height of that era, in 1991, when the original Duke Nukem franchise debuted; the games are littered with certain depictions of female characters that have not aged well at all. So, one might think that Duke Nukem would absolutely not be a franchise that would ever be adapted as a movie for 2020 or later, but guess what? That’s exactly what’s happening. The Duke Nukem project is being produced by Jean-Julien Baronnet, who also produced the video game-based 2016 disappointment Assassin’s Creed (Rotten at 17%), and all that’s without even mentioning the very Rotten legacy of the nearly 50 previous video game adaptations to date.