COMIC REEL: "Amazing Spider-Man" Expands Universe; Cheadle In For "Age of Ultron"


Sony has announced plans to expand the "Amazing Spider-Man" universe, starting with two spinoff films: "Venom" and "The Sinister Six." In a press release, the studio stated it had hired screenwriters Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner, Ed Solomon and Drew Goddard to serve as a part of a "franchise brain trust" along with director Marc Webbl and producers Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach to help expand the "Amazing Spider-Man" universe. Kurtzman, Orci and Pinkner were already onboard to write "Amazing Spider-Man 3"; now, Kurtzman and Orci are onboard to write "Venom" (Kurtzman will direct), while Goddard will write "Sinister Six."

"The Spider-Man film franchise is one of our studio's greatest assets," Columbia Pictures President Doug Belgrad said in a statement. "We are thrilled with the creative team we have assembled to delve more deeply into the world that Marc, Avi and Matt have begun to explore in 'The Amazing Spider-Man' and 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2.' We believe that Marc, Alex, and Drew have the uniquely exciting visions for how to expand the Spider-Man universe in each of these upcoming films."

Opens May 2, 2014


Don Cheadle is set to return as James Rhodes for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" and will join fellow new "Avengers" cast members Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen and James Spader. That said, Cheadle is the first existing Marvel Cinematic Universe actor that wasn't in "The Avengers" reported to be cast in the sequel. Cheadle's inclusion may open the door to some other possibilities -- like characters from "Thor: The Dark World," "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" or even "Guardians of the Galaxy." Whatever the future, it'll be exciting to see Cheadle suit up as James Rhodes again.

Opens May 1, 2015


CBR has a report from a recent CW press event about the "Arrow" midseason finale, which includes comments from executive producers Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg as well as DC Comics CCO Geoff Johns.

"I think one of the big successes of the show is embracing the mythology at the right time," Johns said. "You don't embrace it all at once, you've got to build up to 'the episode when.' But the greatest thing about the show as a comic fan is, it does embrace the mythology. Everyone working on it embraces the mythology. It's all going to be introduced; it's just a matter of when."

Meanwhile, the CW has posted a video interview with Grant Gustin about the character of Barry Allen.

"Barry is a ginormous fan of the vigilante because I think he truly believes that if someone like the vigilante had been around when he was a child, he could have prevented what happened to his mother," said Gustin. "The origin story with Barry gives me chills just thinking about it. Reading the script, I couldn't believe I was going to get to film that."

Airs Wednesdays on the CW


Spinoff Online has posted a report from a press event that included actress Evangeline Lilly, director Peter Jackson and writer/producer Philippa Boyens about Tauriel and her inclusion in "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug."

"I went through five different types of training," Lilly said of her preparation to play the character. "I did weapons training, stunt training, movement training, dialect training, language training. And in the weapons training, there were two different weapons -- I had double daggers and a bow and arrow. Believe it or not, I used to teach archery to little kids. Peter didn't know that. At a kids' camp, when I was a teenager, I used to teach archery. But I'm not a good marksman."

Now in theaters

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