Star Wars, S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel Phase Three: January 28th Comic Reel


It's 100% official: J.J. Abrams will direct "Star Wars Episode VII." The Hollywood Reporter confirmed with a statement from Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy.

"It's very exciting to have J.J. aboard leading the charge as we set off to make a new 'Star Wars' movie," Kennedy told THR. "J.J. is the perfect director to helm this. Beyond having such great instincts as a filmmaker, he has an intuitive understanding of this franchise. He understands the essence of the 'Star Wars' experience, and will bring that talent to create an unforgettable motion picture."

While the film previously had a 2015 deadline, THR notes that the director hasn't committed to the release date and it will possibly shift if the development process requires it.

Opens 2015(?)


With Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson already onboard as the tether between the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Joss Whedon's "S.H.I.E.L.D.," fans will be pleased to know that tether may get stronger as Cobie Smulders is in talks to reprise her role as Maria Hill in the series.

"The commitments to ['How I Met Your Mother'] don't affect it," Smulders told IAmRogue. "And I can't really say but there are definite talks about it."


Last week, MTV wrapped its week-long discussion with Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige with a much-needed update on "Ant-Man" -- and the official confirmation of a "Doctor Strange" movie for Phase Three!

"'Ant-Man' is definitely part of Phase Three," Feige told MTV. "Like 'Iron Man 3,' it's certainly set in the Marvel Universe, but it's also through the lens of Edgar Wright -- which is the only reason we're making the movie. I've known Edgar since our first lunch together at Comic-Con in 2004. He asked me what Marvel was doing with 'Ant-Man' -- we weren't even a studio then; what a difference eight years makes! It's very much an 'Ant-Man' origin movie from the perspective of Edgar Wright and his co-writer Joe Cornish. It will of course be firmly planted in the MCU, but a different corner than we've seen before."

Feige also addressed the "Doctor Strange" film rumors directly in the interview.

"'Doctor Strange,' which I've been talking about for years, is definitely one of them," he said. "He's a great, original character, and he checks the box off this criteria that I have: he's totally different from anything else we have, just like 'Guardians of the Galaxy.' He's totally different from anything we've done before, as is 'Ant-Man,' which keeps us excited."


Some major casting news for Bryan Singer's "X-Men: Days of Future Past" dropped over the weekend -- namely, that Anna Paquin, Shawn Ashmore and Ellen Page will reprise their roles as Rogue, Iceman and Kitty Pryde, respectively, in the next "X-Men" film. The three X-alums join Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen, who Singer had already announced would be returning to the franchise.

Comic Book Movie has a quote from Singer printed in the most recent issue of Empire Magazine addressing the time-travel aspect of the "X-Men: First Class" sequel.

"It's epic. We get to bring both casts together. We've cracked it in a way that makes sense," Singer told Empire. "I had a two-hour conversation with James Cameron about time travel, string theory, multiverses and all that. You have to create your rules and stick with them. That's what makes 'Terminator' and 'Back To The Future' work so well. And there are certain mechanisms in X-Men, certain powers, perceptions and characters, that make this possible. More than any of the movies I've made, it comes to me much more quickly than on other films. With Superman Returns I struggled a lot. I guess it's either my history with the X-Men universe or I have some kind of knack for this particular story."

Opens July 18, 2014


Access Hollywood has posted a video interview with "Iron Man" and "Iron Man 2" director Jon Favreau, who speaks briefly on stepping down for "Iron Man 3."

Opens May 3


Comic Book Movie has posted a scan from the most recent issue of "Empire Magazine," which features the first official look at Chris Hemsworth from "Thor: The Dark World."

CBM also posted an "Empire" interview quote from Marvel Studios executive producer Craig Kyle, who spoke briefly on the overall tone of the film and bringing on "Game of Thrones" director Alan Taylor.

"Like in Indiana Jones, while there's high stakes and high danger, there's always fun. We have to constantly redefine what a superhero film is or it'd just exhaust the audience. So Iron Man is the James Bond-y, classic, suave action hero; Captain America's the period piece; Hulk is the monster movie; Avengers the disaster movie; and Thor is the science-fiction epic," Kyle told Empire. "By bringing director Alan Taylor into the mix, with his expertise on 'The Sopranos,' 'Mad Men' and 'Game Of Thrones,' we came up with a take that allows us to get more into the nooks and crannies of Asgard and its people. We spend more time on the ground with the commoners, as opposed to in the palace. It's a very complicated blend [of genres: high science fiction, gritty fantasy, and realism]. Thor is, until 'Guardians of the Galaxy' hits, by far our most wild, fringe Marvel piece. But that's why it's the Marvel Universe and not Marvel Earth!"

Opens November 8


Access Hollywood spoke with "Spartacus" actor Manu Bennett about his portrayal of Deathstroke in the CW's "Arrow."


Check out this new still from "The Wolverine" in this month's issue of "Empire Magazine." (Courtesy of Comic Book Movie.)

Opens July 26


While speaking with Newsarama, Marvel all-star scribe Brian Michael Bendis commented briefly on James Gunn's script for "Guardians of the Galaxy."

"I'm not allowed to say anything specific -- it's a great script," Bendis told Newsarama. "It really turned out great. James Gunn did a really great job. I read the last draft -- 'Oh please, don't suck, because I've already invested part of my life into this' -- and I was like, 'Oh, this is great! This is going to be a lot of fun!'"

Opens August 1, 2014

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