This week’s Ketchup brings you another nice headlines from the world of film development news (the stories about what movies Hollywood is working on for you next), covering such titles as The Suicide Squad, The Eternals, and Halloween Kills.
Last year, Walt Disney Pictures briefly fired director James Gunn from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (if you’re wondering why Marvel’s not moving forward on that movie faster, that’s the reason) over old jokes in poor taste were found on his Twitter feed. James Gunn has since been hired back, but in the meantime, he jumped ship to work for Warner Bros and DC Comics for The Suicide Squad, which will be a soft reboot sequel to the 2016 super villain movie starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie. This week, James Gunn cast one of his frequent collaborators as well as one of Marvel’s stars. First up was Nathan Fillion, who previously worked with James Gunn on both Slither and Super, and who also had a cameo voice acting role in the first Guardians of the Galaxy. The biggest surprise, however, came with the news that Taika Waititi will also have a role in The Suicide Squad. In addition to directing Thor: Ragnarok (in which he also voiced the alien Korg), Taika Waititi is also returning to write and direct Thor: Love and Thunder (11/3/2021), which will come out less than three months after The Suicide Squad. James Gunn also this week cast comedian Steve Agee to provide the voice of the monstrous super villain King Shark. Warner Bros has scheduled The Suicide Squad for release on August 6, 2021, which will be five days after the fifth anniversary of the release of Suicide Squad on August 1, 2016.
One of the big reveals at Disney’s D23 this past weekend was the casting of Kit Harrington as Dane Whitman, AKA Marvel’s Black Knight, in next year’s The Eternals (11/6/2020). Harrington will be joined by Richard Madden, he of Robb Stark in Game of Thrones, as Ikaris. This came along with confirmation that Gemma Chan will costar in The Eternals just one year after she also costarred in Captain Marvel as the Kree warrior Minn-Erva. The inclusion of Black Knight and Minn-Erva in The Eternals is significant because both characters were long-time members of The Avengers from the 1980s to the 1990s. Black Knight actually first joined as the 14th Avenger in 1969, in-between Vision in 1968 and Black Widow in 1973. So if one wants to speculate about a future Avengers movie, they’re both possibilities.
Marvel Studios didn’t invent the notion of the weekend closest to May 1st being the best spot to start the summer season (that was arguably the 1999 reboot of The Mummy), but they’ve certainly perfected the move. In recent years, that has included Avengers: Age of Ultron (5/1/2015), Captain America: Civil War (5/6/2016), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (5/5/2017), Avengers: Infinity War (4/27/2018), and Avengers: Endgame (4/26/2019), and will include Black Widow (5/1/2020) and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (5/7/2020). One of the highly anticipated films that was left out of Marvel’s big panel of announcements at SDCC this year was Black Panther II, but we learned last weekend that they were just saving that news for D23, where Marvel revealed that Black Panther II is scheduled for May 6, 2022. No other premise or cast details were confirmed, but presumably, Chadwick Boseman, Martin Freeman, Danai Gurira, and Letitia Wright will all be back.
As of this writing in 2019, Broadway singer/actor Ben Platt is 25, and actress Beanie Feldstein is 26. But when their new movie comes out, they’ll be more like 45 and 46. That’s because Platt and Feldstein have both signed to star in a new musical from director Richard Linklater, who famously spent 12 years making the 2014 Academy Award-winning drama Boyhood. That musical will be an adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s 1981 play Merrily We Roll Along, which was itself based on the 1934 play of the same name. Sondheim’s play was set across a period from 1957 to 1976, and as with Boyhood, Richard Linklater plans on filming Merrily We Go Along over a 20 year period just like how its plot unfolds. Presuming Merrily We Roll Along is released around 2039 or 2040, Richard Linklater (born 7/30/1960) will be between 78 and 80.
As much of an “info dump” as San Diego Comic-Con is, Disney’s own D23 convention almost matches that. This year, a lot of that went to the upcoming Disney+ streaming app’s content, but Disney itself made a few big feature film announcements. We’ve known for a while now that Pixar’s next film will be Onward (3/6/2020), a modern fantasy starring MCU stars Tom Holland and Chris Pratt. But that’s not all for Pixar in 2020: They also have Soul on their schedule for release on June 16, 2020. Pixar revealed at D23 that the stars of Soul will be Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey. Fey will voice a disembodied human soul in the afterlife, with Jamie Foxx voicing a music teacher who appears to kick it just before a big career opportunity (cue the comparisons to Mr. Holland’s Opus and also Pixar’s Coco). Foxx and Fey will also be joined by the voices of Daveed Diggs (Blindspotting), Questlove (of The Roots and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon), and Phylicia Rashad (TV’s The Cosby Show), with Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) collaborating on the film’s score.
Quite the phenomenon when a future megastar gets their career start in a horrible horror movie. Take, for example, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, the sixth film in the horror franchise, which featured Paul Rudd as Tommy Doyle, one of the kids Laurie Strode was babysitting in the first movie. Jamie Lee Curtis returned as Laurie Strode in last year’s hit “soft reboot” sequel Halloween (which earned over $255 million worldwide), and she’s returning for Halloween Kills (10/16/2020) and (possibly) Halloween Ends (10/15/2021), which will soon be filmed back-to-back. Paul Rudd was indeed approached about returning as Tommy Doyle, but due to scheduling conflicts with Ghostbusters 2020 (7/10/2020), Tommy Doyle will instead be played by Anthony Michael Hall. Rudd and Hall may not resemble each other, but if the Halloween slasher franchise now serves as a nostalgia feast, the casting of the costar of 1980s movies like Sixteen Candles, Weird Science, and The Breakfast Club fits that theme perfectly.
Disney has had a mystery project scheduled for November 25, 2020 for a while, but it wasn’t until last weekend’s D23 that Disney revealed that it will be Raya and the Last Dragon. The animated fantasy adventure will be set in a fictional kingdom called Kumandra, which will be inspired by the cultures of Southeast Asia. Raya and the Last Dragon will mark the directorial debuts of Paul Briggs and Dean Wellins, who previously worked on Disney movies like Big Hero 6 and Zootopia. The screenplay is being written by Adele Lim, whose Crazy Rich Asians featured Awkwafina, now also a voice role in Raya. The title character to be voiced by Cassie Steele of TV’s Degrassi: The Next Generation.
Fox Searchlight has been moving forward with plans for a movie called Flamin’ Hot about how the popular brand of Cheetos snack foods came to be. They’re hiring Eva Longoria to direct the true story of Richard Montanez, who was a janitor at Frito-Lay when he came up with the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos concept after noticing that regular Cheetos were not as “flavorful” as Mexican snacks on the same convenience store shelves.
Director Chris Landon is newly available as it appears unlikely that Happy Death Day will receive another sequel after this year’s box office disappointment of 2U, which earned just $28 million domestically. For his next film, Landon will cowrite and direct a body swapping thriller. Vince Vaughn will star as a “deranged serial killer” whose body is taken over by a high school student played by 22-year-old Kathryn Newton, whose previous work includes Paranormal Activity 4 and Detective Pikachu.