Today’s Ketchup brings you another 10 headlines from the world of film development news, covering such titles such as The Batman, Dune, and Detective Pikachu.
Last July, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn was fired by Walt Disney Pictures from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after old, offensive jokes on Twitter resurfaced. A few months later, we started hearing that Marvel’s “distinguished competition” at Warner Bros and DC Comics were hiring Gunn to write and possibly direct the next Suicide Squad movie. This week, we learned that yes, Gunn is now in talks with Warner Bros. to direct a film to be called The Suicide Squad (8/6/2021), which is being described as a relaunch of the concept. Gunn is expected to use an almost entirely new group of super villains, which means that most of the characters that appeared in the 2016 movie will not return for The Suicide Squad. (We’re thinking here of The Joker, Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Killer Croc, Captain Boomerang, etc.) There have been dozens of Suicide Squad members in the comics, so there are lots of possibilities, including characters like Bronze Tiger, Killer Frost, King Shark, Major Disaster, and Vixen.
This really was a crazy week for DC Comics movies. We’re going to cover multiple release dates for 2020 in a bit, but here, the focus is two years out: 2021. That’s because The Batman, the reboot in which Ben Affleck will not play Bruce Wayne, is now scheduled for June 25, 2021. Matt Reeves (War for the Planet of the Apes) is writing and directing The Batman, which will feature a younger Batman in a “detective” story involving a rogues gallery of Bat-villains (which may or may not include Josh Gad as The Penguin). Another film now scheduled for 2021 is an animated movie for DC Super Pets (5/21/21), which may include such four legged sidekicks as Krypto the Superdog, Ace the Bat-Hound, and Supergirl’s cat Streaky. Meanwhile, we heard this week that Warner Bros. and James Wan are now looking for a good Aquaman 2 screenplay. Meanwhile, Aquaman has become the top grossing DC Comics movie of all time.
Continuing our coverage of this crazy week full of DC Comics movies news, we will start with the news of two movies which will not happen. Kevin Smith was on a podcast recently, and there he revealed what he knew of what director Zack Snyder had planned for Justice League 2 and 3. Basically Justice League 2 would have been an outer space battle with Darkseid (which he would have won, ala Avengers: Infinity War), and then the war would have continued on an Earth conquered by Darkseid (images of which we saw in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice). As all that suggests, Zack Snyder is now done with DC Comics movies, and we now know that instead, he will return to his Dawn of the Dead zombie roots with a Netflix project called Army of the Dead. Director Patty Jenkins also revealed this week that her Wonder Woman 3 will be a “contemporary” film, following next year’s Wonder Woman 1984 (6/5/2020).
For obvious calendar-related reasons, January is often a time when we see a lot of big future release dates. Although we know nothing else about it, the biggest reveal of this batch is the next film from director Christopher Nolan: IMAX on July 17, 2020, up against the Bob’s Burgers movie and The Spongebob Movie: It’s a Wonderful Sponge. A week earlier, on July 10, 2020, we’ll get Ghostbusters 3, the direct sequel to the first two films, rumored to feature new teenage Ghostbusters. Later that month, on July 31, 2020, Sony has scheduled the Marvel’s Morbius, the vampire antihero movie starring Jared Leto and Doctor Who star Matt Smith. Earlier in that year, May 8 will be the new release date for Greyhound, a World War II naval drama starring Tom Hanks, a date also claimed by Reese Witherspoon’s Legally Blonde 3. January 3, 2020 will be the new release date for the reboot of The Grudge (which had previously been scheduled for this summer). Later in 2020, we’ll also have the remake of The Witches (10/16/2020), starring Anne Hathaway in the role originally played by Anjelica Huston.
Frank Herbert’s classic science fiction novel Dune features a massive ensemble cast of characters, and so we’re in the midst of what will be several weeks of role announcements. To date, we’ve already heard about Timothée Chalamet in the lead role as Paul Atreides, as well as Rebecca Ferguson (as Lady Jessica), Charlotte Rampling (as Reverend Mother Mohiam), Stellan Skarsgård (as Baron Harkonnen), and Dave Bautista (as The Beast Rabban). This week, we can now add to the mix Spider-Man: Homecoming costar Zendaya, who is in early talks to play Chalamet’s romantic interest, Chani. Oscar Isaac, who is coming off playing Poe Dameron in Star Wars: The Force Awaken, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and this December’s Star Wars Episode IX, is in talks to play Duke Leto Atreides.
In addition to playing Dean Pelton on Community, Jim Rash is also a writer and director who with his partner Nat Faxon has previously worked on The Descendants and The Way Way Back. For their next film, The Heart, Rash and Faxon are arguably stacking the deck by recruiting three recent Academy Award winners: Allison Janney, who won a Supporting Actress Oscar last year for I, Tonya; Octavia Spencer, who won in that category for 2012’s The Help; and Sam Rockwell also won last year for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Rockwell and Spencer will play people desperate for cash who agree to courier a black market human heart in what they soon discover is a very dangerous job. Janney plays Spencer’s antagonist ex-boss. In related news, there are also now rumors that Janney and Rockwell may not be asked to present Academy Awards this year, as is often the tradition in the acting categories.
Everything was awesome for Sony Pictures in 2018, and the studio is keeping this swinging with the Zombieland: Double Tap (10/11/2019) poster reveal, presented as a play on the social media “10 year challenge.” That poster also showed off that all four Zombieland stars (Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, and Abigail Breslin) are returning. We also learned this week that they will be joined by Rosario Dawson. Harrelson also made a new deal recently to star in the Fox 2000 drama Fruit Loops, which is described as a psychiatric hospital drama in the style of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Fruit Loops will be directed by Ted Melfi (Hidden Figures, St. Vincent), who also this week set up a new sci-fi project called Harry’s All Night Hamburgers.
In the months and weeks leading up to the 2017 release of The Mummy, Universal Pictures did a lot of press about how that reboot was going to lead to the Dark Universe cinematic universe, featuring classic Universal Monsters like Bride of Frankenstein and The Wolfman. The box office disappointment of The Mummy quickly led to the Dark Universe plans being dismantled, but we learned this week that some Universal Monsters will still get their reboot movies after all. In the Dark Universe plan, Johnny Depp was to have played The Invisible Man, but that movie is now moving forward without Depp. Instead, The Invisible Man is now being rebooted by Upgrade director Leigh Whannell at Blumhouse. The shift to Blumhouse for The Invisible Man (and possibly other Universal Monsters) is being perceived as a smart move, considering how Blumhouse has been able to deliver successful franchises like Insidious, Ouija, Paranormal Activity, and The Purge.
Just as Captain Marvel prepares to release March 8, Brie Larson is setting up at least one new project at Netflix, which is also where her directorial debut called Unicorn Store (debuting April 5) landed. Larson will star in and direct Lady Business, based upon the true stories of Witchsy founders Kate Dwyer and Penelope Gazin. Lady Business will tell the story of two female entrepreneurs who “invent a third male company founder in order to be taken seriously in the business world.”
The videogame adaptation Pokémon Detective Pikachu (5/10/2019) is still over three months away, so we have no idea if it’s going to be the big movie that breaks the Rotten curse of video game movies. After 25 years and nearly 50 Rotten video game movies, it’s probably safe to be skeptical about all upcoming releases. This week, Warner Bros. revealed that they’re already starting development on a Detective Pikachu sequel. The studio is doing that by hiring screenwriter Oren Uziel (The Cloverfield Paradox, co-writer of 22 Jump Street) to work on it. Other upcoming films Uziel has worked on include Sonic the Hedgehog (11/8/2019), Supergirl, and the Mortal Kombat reboot.