In this special edition Weekly Ketchup, the sequels, prequels and comic book heroes keep coming, as we dish the latest from Comic Con.
#1 TR2N – C2MING 2 Y2U S22N!
Oy, just what the Internet needed… another subversion of spelling/syntax. But besides the odd title of TR2N, Disney does get props for surprising plenty of people by unveiling a teaser trailer for the sequel that most didn’t even know had started filming. The teaser has been online off and on this weekend (like so many things premiered at Comic Con), but I can give you a brief description of it until Disney decides to put up an official version (how can they not?). It doesn’t hide the fact that it’s a TRON teaser for too long, as a few seconds in, we see a guy wearing something similar to the neon glow suits from the 1982 movie. There’s a yellow flash, and the guy jumps in the air, and WHAM, he’s speeding along in his own (blue) laser bike, alongside the yellow one. They whiz around the electronic city, in a more fluid and 3D way (flying through the air at points), without sharp 90 degree turns like the original. Anyway, long story short, the blue biker gets “pwned”, and we find out that Jeff Bridges is returning as Flynn, who appears as both his older self (the grey beard and hair in a business suit makes him look like “The Dude” crossed with “Obadiah Stane”), and as his younger, electronic warrior self, laying down the killing blow on our would-be teaser trailer hero. This is a great teaser trailer, and Disney gets props for pulling off the surprise so well. Now, we can all imagine what new spins on the video games of the last 25+ years might be reinterpreted.
#2 I WILL BE LEGEND?
Francis Lawrence, director of I Am Legend, was at Comic Con to talk up his new TV show, Kings, and he revealed to ShockTillYouDrop.com that he and Warner Bros are working on a prequel project to the $500 million blockbuster, with hopes that they can get the original story’s author, Richard Matheson, to help out with developing the story. Will Smith would also be returning as Dr. Robert Neville (let me insert a “duh!” here, since he’s obviously a big part of why the movie made that much money). Lawrence doesn’t get into details, but I would presume the prequel might get into the back story of how the world ended up the way it did, and more of the events of Neville’s life before I Am Legend begins. And, I suppose, if they want to keep producing this lucrative franchise, they could continue with prequels that show Lawrence going to college, joining the boy scouts, losing his first baby tooth, being born, being conceived, etc. Or maybe they could just remake the upcoming Benjamin Button movie, but with Will Smith. As long as Hollywood is in love with remakes so badly, why not remakes of movies that aren’t even out yet? Anyway, as long as it stars Will Smith, any future I Am Legend prequels should = $$$ !
#3 IL RETURNO DE HERCULES
In other news, sort of Will Smith related, Peter Berg, director of Hancock (and the upcoming Dune remake), signed on with Universal this week to write and direct an adaptation of the comic book, Hercules: The Thracian Wars, a comic book series that just started two months ago. The script will be newcomer Ryan Condal, who is also adapting the comic book, Ocean. Hercules: The Thracian Wars is published by Radical Comics, which is basically a way to produce comics so that Radical Pictures (same company) can then sell movie rights to the comics. They sold another title, Calibur, a King Arthur tale set in the Wild West, last week, and there’s another Radical Comics title down below at #7. Whatever Peter Berg does with Hercules, it probably won’t be like this, unfortunately.
#4 THIS WEEK IN SWEATY HYBORIAN BARBARIAN NEWS
Robert Rodriguez and girlfriend Rose McGowan stormed Comic Con on a wave of news relating to not one, not two, but three movies connected to the writings of 1930s pulp author, Robert E. Howard. First off, Robert Rodriguez announced that he has signed on as producer of the Conan movie. Prior to Comic Con, it was revealed that Djimon Hounsou will be starring in a spin off project for Thulsa Doom, the bad guy that James Earl Jones played in the first Arnold Conan movie. It should be noted that Thulsa Doom was actually a Kull villain in R.E.H.’s original stories, *not* Conan. Being immortal, he was adapted in the comic to become a Conan villain after Kull was cancelled.. And finally, Rose McGowan will be starring in a Red Sonja movie, which is another character that really shone more in the comics more than she did in the actual R.E.H. stories. All of this seems to indicate that it is the 1970s comic books that these movies might be getting more of their inspiration from (although that’s not what Rodriguez is saying). Well, I guess that’s better than the Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, at least. Rodriguez’s best argument for why he is best suited to have the (producing) reins of at least two of three Robert E. Howard movies seems to be that he’s from Texas, like Robert E. Howard was (he mentions it *twice* in that interview). That is a *really* flimsy argument. By that logic, I could claim to be well suited to produce movies about E. Gary Gygax, Orson Welles, Chris Farley, Harry Houdini and Liberace, because they’re all from Wisconsin like me.
#5 DOC SAVAGE TO BEAT THEATRES TO A PULP
The movie nerd press has pretty much ignored this news, but producer Michael Uslan (who is also producing the upcoming Shazam! movie) announced at Comic Con this weekend that a new Doc Savage movie is in development, aiming for a release in 2009 or 2010. Okay, this is all sorts of cool, and it’s mildly disappointing that it falls to me to explain why to the entire interweb nerd populace. Where to begin? Doc Savage got his start as a pulp character back in the 1930s, and he is the prototype for a lot of characters that followed him. Any time you’ve seen or read about a character that is a “renaissance man” who combines smarts and action, it’s possible to trace roots back to Doc Savage, who was one of the earliest examples of this character type. Brock Samson from The Venture Bros is nearly a Doc Savage spoof/homage, as was Buckaroo Bonzai. Doc Savage stories and novels have been published ever since, although never really emerging from being a cult thing, really. There was a movie in the 1970s that wasn’t very good, and several comic book attempts, but mostly, the character mostly has his roots in books (the type without pictures on the pages). Anyway, no details are given about this movie, but if they can find someone who can capture Doc Savage’s look and personality, this could be an awesome movie. Think Indiana Jones, James Bond, Buckaroo Banzai and maybe even Hellboy wrapped into one guy, and you might be close. Doc Savage is definitive pulp fiction adventure at its pulpiest.
#6 COOL COMIC CON CLIPS: WATCHMEN AND WOLVERINE
There was plenty of footage screened at Comic Con this weekend, but after TR2N, the two movies that seem to have been received the most positively were X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Watchmen. The Watchmen footage hasn’t appeared online yet (sob), but the Wolverine trailer thing has, for as long as that lasts. Presuming it will get pulled eventually, here’s my quick take: the story is set up as a sort of a “regenerating buddy flick” gone bad, as Wolverine and Sabretooth seem to start off on good terms, which then turn sour as they start trying to hack each other to bits. Wolverine has a wee bit of an advantage over Sabretooth’s dirty-finger-looking claws. Oh, and we see some new mutant friends like the Blob (he looks a lot like Fat Bastard, unfortunately), Deadpool (played by Ryan Reynolds, without nasty scars, strangely) and Gambit, who I have to admit (as a Gambit hater), was surprisingly one of the cooler things in the trailer. Interpret that however!
As for Watchmen, I will have to refer you to people who were actually there, like IGN and CHUD. Something from that panel that I can show you are the AWESOME posters that were unveiled there. Lots of sites are pretending to have them, but the source appears to be this Brazilian site. If your Portuguese is not so hot, after you start looking at the gallery with the smiley face poster, “Proximo” is the word for “Next.” The posters are very intriguing, because they seem to be a combination of paintings and photographs of the actors/sets. Sort of like paintings done over the photos? There’s a Dr. Manhattan wallpaper on the official site that’s done in this style, too, and frankly, I love this stuff. Each poster has a quote from a character, and they really get across the attitude of the comic, I think. I particularly like #2 (Silk Spectre II in front of the mirror) and #7 (Ozymandias in front of his TV screens, which reveals that Bubastis, his genetically engineered cat, IS in the movie, BTW). The final image (#8), of Carla Gugino as Silk Spectre I in a bondage picture… is disturbing.
#7 BRYAN (“I WASN’T A COMIC BOOK FAN BEFORE I DIRECTED X-MEN”) SINGER PICKS UP TWO MORE “COMIC BOOK” PROJECTS
This week, Bryan Singer (X-Men, Superman Returns) announced two separate comic book projects that he will produce, while we are still left waiting for firm news about when the next Superman movie will start filming. Well, Freedom Formula is “sort of” a comic book movie, in that it is another of those comic book titles from a company (see above, #2) that produces comic books pretty much just so they can then sell the rights to movie studios. Basically, the comic book is just a storyboard that they can also sell. Freedom Formula is described as being like Top Gun, but with “mechs“. Well, the Variety writer probably wasn’t versed enough in nerd jargon to know that term, but that’s what he meant. Basically, with both Transformers and Iron Man raking in cash, you’re going to see more mech-type movies. Tobey Maguire is producing a Robotech movie, for example. The other Bryan Singer production announced this week is Capeshooting, a comedy about two guys who make their money shooting videos of superheroes in action who get in trouble when they discover one of them is actually a villain. Capeshooting is described as an upcoming comic book, but I can’t find any evidence that it exists other than stories about this movie project. Again, this appears to be an example where the “comic book” is secondary to the movie based upon it. Meanwhile, there’s about 70+ years worth of comic book stories that existed before Hollywood got hip to us, that struggle to get sold or produced as movies.
#8 SHIA LABEOUF TO PLAY THE (UN)LUCKIEST GUY IN COMIC BOOK HISTORY
CHUD was able to interview director D.J. Caruso (Disturbia) last week, leading up to Comic Con, and he confirmed that his Eagle Eye star, Shia LaBeouf is likely to star in the upcoming movie version of Y: The Last Man, the excellent comic book by LOST episode cowriter, Brian K. Vaughan, about the last man (and monkey) on Earth left over when something kills off everything with a Y chromosone (AKA dudes, males, guys, gents, men). What would for some guys would seem like a dream come true of the highest order, however, is actually sort of a bad thing, as the world post-men is chaotic and just barely this side of post-apocalyptic. LeBeouf is sort of perfect for this role, because he’s got that whole (sigh) cute thing going on, which plays nicely as a counterpoint to the film’s premise. Oh, and Caruso hopes to make this the first movie of a trilogy, with hopes, apparently of getting most of the comics’ plot (there were 60 issues) into theaters in 6 or 7 hours of cinema. The aim is to start filming in January, 2009 and get the first movie into theaters sometime in the summer of 2010.
#9 SAM RAIMI MENTIONS A 4TH EVIL DEAD MOVIE, FANBOYS FAINT
If there was more to this story, it would surely rate higher than #9, but here you go: Sam Raimi mentioned at the Drag Me to Hell panel that he’d love to do another Evil Dead movie, and that it is something that is “in the wheelhouse”, and is something he’s working on with his brother, Ivan Raimi. Of course, that doesn’t tell us when such a fourth movie might happen, and we’ve heard talk before that another movie might be in the works, so… it is what it is.
#10 MORE MOVIE NEWS FROM THE BAD GIRL GENRE
Red Sonja isn’t the only “bad girl” to get movie news this week. Nope, Hollywood has finally figured out that guys may like scantily clad girls, but they LOVE scantily clad girls with sharp pointy objects. So, the Witchblade movie continues to develop, with Michael Rymer, the director and producer of several episodes of the Battlestar Galactica remake series, signing on to make his feature film debut. Another Top Cow character, Magdalena, also got news this week in the form of a star, Jenna Dewan (Step Up), and a male costar, Luke Goss (Prince Nuada from Hellboy II: The Golden Army). As her name suggests, the concept of Magdalena is that there is this long line of female Christian warriors descended from Mary Magdalene herself. Magdalena wears a sexy stripper outfit adorned with a huge cross and sharp blades, and fights bad guys (vampires, demons, etc).