Bale, Disney, MCU: Weekly Round Up

Christian Bale

Bale, Disney, MCU: Weekly Round Up – This week the movie news machine was dominated by Disney. The studio held their annual “investor call” which is sort of as dull as it sounds, but with the added excitement of the fact that Disney as a company own the likes of Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel, and a whole bunch of other stuff, meaning that along with all the boring financial crap came a whole shed load of announcements around what the studio are planning for their schedule in the next few years.

Most of what was announced centred around the Disney+ streaming appuch of what was announced , which isn’t that much of a surprise when you consider the current ongoing uncertainty around the pandemic. There were a lot of interesting things getting dropped there anyway, including a whole host of Marvel shows, a bunch of Star Wars shows, and some other things for, like… National Geographic, I guess? Because that’s a thing Disney own I think. Maybe. Probably. Jesus, they own fucking everything, let’s just get it over with and inject their content straight into our brains, shall we?

Anyway, aside from the streaming service announcements, we got a lot of details around other projects. First up we have Pixar, who were ready to share some details surrounding their upcoming projects post-Soul.

First out the gate will be Luca, an Italy-based animation that’s set to arrive in June of 2021, and will be followed by Turning Red in March of 2022, which will tell the story of a young girl who, er… turns into a red panda (I’ll be honest, it sounds rubbish, but it’s Pixar, so I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt given they’re the studio that made fish and abstract emotional concepts kid friendly fun for the whole family, so…).

Most interestingly from the Pixar line-up, though, was the announcement of their other 2022 project, Buzz Lightyear. The film is a sort of prequel to Toy Story, although not really. It’s complicated, but interesting at least. It will star Chris Evans as the voice of the “real” Buzz Lightyear, the person upon whom the Tim Allen-voiced Buzz from the Toy Story movies is supposed to have been based. Not much else is known about the project at this point, but it’s a pretty fascinating concept, so fingers crossed it’ll be alright.

Of course, you all want to know about the Star Wars stuff, so, okay, let’s get onto the Star Wars stuff.

There was the announcement that Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins will direct the next Star Wars movie, which is reportedly titled Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, and will be released in December of 2023. Jenkins, of course, is among the many filmmakers who recently learned their movies will be simultaneously dropping on HBO Max as well as in theatres, so her move to Disney adds an interesting layer to that particular cake (maybe Christopher Nolan will go direct movies for the House of Mouse too?).

Not much is known about Jenkins’ movie, but it’s safe bet to guess that it’ll tie in with the other Rogue Squadron Star Wars properties that were an especially big deal in the 90s. This will no doubt be seen by some as Disney’s attempt to gain favour with the fans who felt let down after the studio departed from the original Extended Universe way back when they first purchased the property, but whether it will actually pan out remains to be seen.

Taika Waititi’s Star Wars movie is reportedly still happening, with a scheduled release now of 2024 or potentially even later, but the most curious omission, in my view at least, was that of Rian Johnson. Johnson, who helmed The Last Jedi, was supposedly going to be working on a brand new Stars Wars trilogy, but the absence of news suggests that this may very well have been scrapped.

It’s always great to bow to angry fan boy pressure, hey folks!? So long as you can keep fucking up copyright law who gives a shit. At least your favourite comic book characters get to, like… talk to each other, or whatever.

Speaking of which, the most movie-centric announcements arguably came in the form of Marvel news. There was the confirmation that Christian Bale will indeed be co-starring in 2022’s Thor: Love and Thunder, and that he will be playing the villain, Gorr the God Butcher. I have no idea who that is, and I’m not going to google it, but I fully suspect it’ll involve Bale going through another one of his incredibly transformations, although this time likely within a computer.

Iman Vellani, who has been cast as Ms. Marvel, and will be appearing in her very own Disney+ show, will also reportedly make her MCU feature film debut in Captain Marvel 2, which is slated for a release in 2022, which adds credence to the suggestions we’ve been hearing that the Marvel Disney+ slate will be very intwined with the cinematic outings (and that’s not all that great an idea, I don’t think, but let’s not let that get in the way). 

My favourite bit of Marvel news, thought, was that the new Ant-Man and the Wash movie will be titled Ant-Man the Wasp: Quantumania, and will reportedly feature Kathryn Newton as Cassie Lang, Ant-Man’s daughter, who in the comics is the superhero Stature. If they don’t go full on batshit with a title like that then I’ll be very disappointed.

It’s Spider-Man who got the most crazy announcements though. First up, the director of the three Tom Holland Spider-Man movies, Jon Watts, will reportedly be at the helm of the much anticipated Fantastic Four reboot, a property Disney now have access too thanks to the Fox merger, but really the overshadowing property was the third Spider-Man outing itself which, er… sounds insane.

We already knew that Jaimie Foxx had be cast to reprise his role from the Andrew Garfield starring The Amazing Spider-Man 2 for the third MCU outing of old web-head, but this week we learned that joining him on the villain front will be Alfred Molina, who played Doctor Octopus in the Same Raimi-directed, Tobey McGuire-starring Spider-Man 2. 

But even that is the most interesting aspect here, because the big news actually broke after Disney’s investor call. See, they’re not just bringing back some of the villains, they plan to bring back fucking everyone! EVERYONE! As in, both Tobey McGuire and Andrew Garfield will reportedly be reprising their roles as Spider-Man alongside Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson and Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey.

If you’re wondering how all these characters from different movie worlds can co-exist, it’s because it seems that this phase of the MCU is all about the multi-verse. We’ve known this since the announcement that the Doctor Strange sequel will be called In the Multi-verse of Madness. Of course, that film’s director is Sam Raimi, so it seems Marvel are keen to “keep it in the family” as it were. WandaVision, the Disney+ show, also seems to be dealing with this, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the aforementioned third Ant-Man and the Wasp doesn’t follow suit.

What this means entirely for the future of the MCU as a whole, I don’t know, but it’s a safe bet to say that Disney will be using this particular plot device to bring in the X-Men, Deadpool, and any other character that takes their fancy. I’m hoping they bring back Chris Evens as The Human Torch because… well, that would be fun, wouldn’t it.

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Alex Secker is a writer/director/editor. His debut feature film, the micro-budget thriller Follow the Crows, won Best Independent Film at the Global Film Festival Awards, while his stage-play, The Door, won the People’s Choice Award at the 2017 Swinge Festival.


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