Highlighting the best Marvel related news items from May 26th – 28th, 2013!
Two studios struggling for the film appearance of…Quicksilver!?
Last week, it was confirmed that the Maximoff twins – Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch – were in the current draft of “Avengers 2” via Joss Whedon and Marvel Studios. While Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige stressed that scripts can change during production – and the film won’t begin filming for at least another year – it does seem as if Whedon is set on the two appearing. This week, Bryan Singer, director of “X-Men: Days of Future Past” for Fox Studios announced on Twitter that not only would Quicksilver appear in that film, but that he’s cast Evan Peters in the roll!
Evan Peters is best known for performances in “Kick-Ass” and “American Horror Story”. Filming for Fox’s latest X-Men film (and the third directed by Singer) has begun this month. As Newsarama notes, Singer’s original Tweet mentioned the “Avengers” specifically, but it has since been edited to no longer mention that name. While Fox and Marvel have worked together in the past – Fox pays for the license for Marvel characters they use in film, and has presumably since 1999 when “X-Men” was in production – HitFix notes that this could be the start of a struggle between the two companies. Disney purchased Marvel whole hog in 2009 and ever since, licenses which were sold to other studios have either returned to the mother company (such as Punisher and Blade) or remained outsourced after some strict negotiations. Sony apparently had to relinquish TV rights to Spider-Man in order to retain film rights, which cleared the way for Disney to produce their own cartoon about the web-slinger for their own network, Disney XD. Fox has already lost the license to Daredevil and had to struggle to retain the license for the Fantastic Four. The details of this scuffle indicate that Marvel Studios cannot mention the word “mutant” or reference Magneto in “Avengers 2”; Fox, meanwhile, cannot mention the “Avengers” in any of their X-Men films.
Singer’s film will debut a year sooner than “Avengers 2” and the Evan Peters incarnation will be the first that audiences see. Considering that filming began before this role was mentioned, it stands to reason that this could be Singer’s attempt to glom onto the publicity that “Avengers 2” is already getting a full year before production. Joss Whedon appeared on Jimmy Fallon’s TV show and proclaimed his fondness for the Maximoff twins – calling them “great mainstays in the Avengers” and preferring their “visually interesting” powers. The dilemma is that while “X-Men: Days of Future Past” can roll along just fine without mentioning the Avengers, having the characters appear in a meatier role without mentioning their powers or parentage is a larger riddle for “The Avengers 2” and its writers. This doesn’t mention the potential dilemma of confusing audiences with the same character played by two actors in two universes a year from each other.
When the twins debuted in “Uncanny X-Men #4”, circa 1964, their status as mutants was stated outright. However, their true parentage was debated for decades. Years worth of comic book stories suggested them as not the children of the gypsy Maximoff family, but of Robert Frank and Madeline Joyce-Frank, a.k.a. the 1940’s era heroes Whizzer and Miss America, respectively. The revelation that the two were the children of Magneto didn’t come until the early 1980’s. Considering that Marvel Studios expressed interest in the “Inhumans” franchise and that Pietro Maximoff is the (often estranged) husband of the Inhuman Crystal, “Avengers 2” could attempt to have that franchise replace the term of “mutant”.
It is Fox Studios that it in a position of weakness. While their “X-Men” film franchise on the whole has been successful, their films haven’t earned anywhere near what Marvel Studios’ recent efforts have, and haven’t been as critically received. While one could argue that the success of “X-Men” in 2000 kicked off the current flow of films, that was 13 years ago and nostalgia is rarely entered into studio battles as a boon. If they follow through on this, they should expect even less cooperation from Marvel and Disney over future license disputes or renewals.
“Age of Ultron” finale to have extension!
Much as with “Fear Itself” last year, Marvel Comics will attach additional epilogue material to the finale of “Age of Ultron” this month. “Age of Ultron #10A.I.” will ship at the end of June and feature a story by Mark Waid (writer of “Daredevil” and “Indestructible Hulk”) and artist Andre Araujo, with a cover by Paolo Rivera. It is a story about the tormented Hank Pym, whose legacy as the creator of Ultron became a key plot point in “Age of Ultron”. The character himself is at a crossroads; he wishes to escape the notion of being known simply for terrible actions such as that or hitting his wife, yet Marvel Comics in general goes out of its way to remind readers of these actions in major events every few years. This will also be a prelude for “Avengers A.I.” which will be a new ongoing series debuting later this summer which Pym will also appear in.
Meanwhile, a variant cover for “Age of Ultron” features art by Joe Quesada and Angela, borrowed from the “Spawn” franchise.