This week’s Ketchup brings you more headlines from the world of film development news, covering such titles as Avatar 5, Death Stranding, and Rogue Squadron.
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There was a time when fans of Marvel superhero Spider-Man wanted to see Donald Glover in the role of Peter Parker, and while that never panned out, he remains inextricably connected to the Spider-Verse in other ways. When comic writer Brian Michael Bendis introduced the character of Miles Morales, he noted that seeing Glover in a Spider-Man costume on the NBC sitcom Community helped inspire Miles’ look, and later in the film Spider-Man: Homecoming, Glover appeared in a small role as Aaron Davis, the uncle of Miles Morales, further exciting fans who hoped to see Glover in the MCU someday. Well, he may not exactly be in the MCU, but Glover is finally joining the growing roster of Spider-Man characters on the big screen, as he has signed on with Sony Pictures to produce and star in a feature centered on a somewhat obscure Spider-Man villain called Hypno-Hustler. Hypno-Hustler first appeared in Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #24 in 1978, where he was portrayed as the lead singer of a band called the Mercy Killers and used his musical equipment to hypnotize his victims. Glover was reportedly attracted to the musical aspect of the character and the fact that, as a lesser-known character, he’d have more freedom to put his own stamp on him. There are no further details on the film other than Glover’s involvement, but Sony has a few titles in it’s Spider-Man Universe coming soon, including next year’s Kraven the Hunter and El Muerto and Madame Web in 2024.
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Ever since mid-credits and post-credits scenes became de rigueur in big budget movies, there have been several instances when the teased projects never materialized. In the world of DC Comics movies, this has happened in Green Lantern (hinting at Mark Strong as Sinestro) and in Justice League (Joe Manganiello as Deathsroke), but we can now also add Black Adam, which ended with Henry Cavill returning as Superman. Under the new leadership of James Gunn and Peter Safran, DC Studios has hung up Henry Cavill’s cape as Superman, which Cavill confirmed in a statement. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be a new Superman movie, however, which James Gunn said is his “biggest priority.” Instead, Gunn will write the next Superman movie, which will focus on a younger Clark Kent who has just arrived in Metropolis, with a younger actor than Henry Cavill taking over the role. Cavill is not necessarily completely done at DC Studios, however, as he is reportedly being eyed for a different character. As for what Cavill will be doing now that he’s done with both Superman and The Witcher, he has already partnered up with Amazon Studios to produce and star in a new franchise of shows based upon the long-running Warhammer 40,000 gaming franchise, set in a far future when humans, orcs, elves, and other races are locked in perpetual wars that blend both fantasy and science fiction.
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Big budget movies will often end with teasers about the next film, but this week, Avatar: The Way of Water (Certified Fresh at 79%) producer Jon Landau already revealed not only what’s happening in Avatar 3, but also in Avatar 5. Specifically, Landau said that sections of Avatar 5 will “go to Earth… and we go to it to open people’s eyes, open Neytiri’s eyes, to what exists on Earth.” Of course, Landau’s statement also implies that Zoe Saldana’s Neytiri character will survive the events of both Avatar 3 and Avatar 4, so it’s something of a spoiler for those films as well. The Avatar sequels are currently spaced out every two years, so their current release dates are Avatar 3 on 12/20/2024, Avatar 4 on 12/18/2026, and Avatar 5 on 12/22/2028. James Cameron recently revealed that he has ideas for Avatar 6 and Avatar 7 as well, but those projects don’t have dates yet.
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The cast of the John Wick spinoff Ballerina, starring Ana de Armas, is continues to grow, even though filming started over a month ago. The latest actor to join Ballerina is The Walking Dead star Norman Reedus. In addition to de Armas and Reedus, the Ballerina cast also includes four actors reprising their John Wick franchise roles: Keanu Reeves (John Wick), Ian McShane (Winston), Lance Reddick (Charon), and Anjelica Huston (the Director). Lionsgate hasn’t announced a release date for Ballerina yet, but the next film, John Wick: Chapter 4, will be released in just a few months on March 24, 2023. In related news, the hit video game Death Stranding is now in development as a live-action film in a partnership between the production company of the game’s director Hideo Kojima and Hammerstone Studios, who produced the 2022 horror hit Barbarian (Certified Fresh at 92%). Norman Reedus was the model for the main character in Death Stranding, but it’s not yet known if he will be portraying that character in the film adaptation.
(Photo by Clay Enos/©Warner Bros.)
Just about two years ago, Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman) was announced as the director of the next Star Wars movie, called Rogue Squadron, which was, at that point, scheduled for late 2023. In September, however, Disney removed Rogue Squadron from its release schedule, and speculation at the time was that Jenkins was likely focusing on other projects like Wonder Woman 3 and Cleopatra (also starring Wonder Woman’s Gal Gadot). Recently, however, as new DC Studios bosses James Gunn and Peter Safran are preparing to move on from the “Snyderverse,” Jenkins’ plans for Wonder Woman 3 were shelved, and with that change, Jenkins has confirmed that she has made a new deal with Lucasfilm to get back to work on Rogue Squadron, although the film does not currently have a release date. The premise of Rogue Squadron is not yet known, but it does share a title with a popular Star Wars video game franchise, and the name of Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing squadron in Star Wars.
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The ever-expanding cast of The Fast and the Furious franchise will add a few more again for next year’s Fast X (5/19/2023), which will introduce new characters played by Jason Momoa, Brie Larson, Rita Moreno, Alan Ritchson (Reacher), and Daniela Melchior (Ratcatcher II in The Suicide Squad). While filming Fast X, Jason Momoa reportedly met John Cena, and the two actors decided that they wanted to find a movie to star in together. That movie will be the Warner Bros. action comedy Killer Vacation, which, despite its descriptive title, we know little about. Killer Vacation was wirtten by cousins Mark Gunn and Brian Gunn (the latter of whom James Gunn’s brother), whose previous collaborations include Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (Rotten at 45%) and Brightburn (Rotten at 57%).
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Daisy Edgar-Jones is a 24-year-old British actress who is probably best known to American audiences for her starring role this year in Where the Crawdads Sing (Rotten at 34%). As it happens, for her next big project, Edgar-Jones will likely do plenty of singing, as she has landed the lead role in the Carole King biopic Beautiful for Sony Pictures and director Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right). Carole King began her musical career as a songwriter in the 1950s and 1960s, writing or co-writing hits like “One Fine Day,” “The Loco-Motion,” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” before starting her solo career in the 1970s with the best-selling album Tapestry, which featured songs like “It’s Too Late” and “You’ve Got a Friend.”
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Each January 1st is “Public Domain Day,” as various works become old enough that they enter the public domain. In 2022, one of the biggest properties to enter the public domain was A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh, which, before 2022, was most associated with Walt Disney Pictures. (This is also why we have a gory horror film called Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey). The second movie to take advantage of Winnie the Pooh entering the public domain will be a prequel that is being developed by a group of DreamWorks alumni that includes director Mike de Seve (Madagascar) and screenwriter John Reynolds. The prequel is being compared to Paddington, and it’s currently scheduled for release sometime in 2024. It’s not yet known if other Milne characters like Eeyore and Tigger will also appear in the film.
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World War II was a massive global undertaking that included thousands of stories, both large and small. One of the least talked about historical standouts was the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, which was the only all-African-American female battalion in WWII. The mission of the 855 women serviing in the 6888th was to sort through the millions of backlogged letters and packages that had trouble reaching their wartime destinations (for example, there were 7,500 servicemen named Robert Smith). Writer, director, and producer Tyler Perry is now taking on their true story with a feature film for Netflix called Six Triple Eight, which will be his fourth film for Netflix after A Fall from Grace, A Madea Homecoming, and A Jazzman’s Blues.
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Every year since 2005, a group of Hollywood development executives choose their favorites among the feature film screenplays that are currently not yet produced for a project called The Black List. Movies that previously made The Black List before being produced include Argo, Juno, The King’s Speech, Slumdog Millionaire, and this year’s Don’t Worry Darling. Each new list usually features a number of celebrity biopics or other true stories, and the class of 2022 follows suit accordingly. These unproduced screenplays include Dumb Blonde (about singer Dolly Parton), It’s a Wonderful Story (about the making of It’s a Wonderful Life), It’s Britney, Bitch (about pop star Britney Spears, of course), Madden (about John Madden and the video games bearing his name), Resurfaced (about Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps), and the 2020 political drama Total Landscaping (about, well, this).