A little over 3 years ago, Disney set the pop culture world on fire with its $4 billion purchase of Marvel Comics. Fast forward to today and looks like Disney wants to light it up one more time with a shocking deal.
According to a Disney press release, it’s about to purchase Lucasfilm, Lucasarts, ILM, and Skywalker Sound for a reported $4.05 billion dollars. Much like with Marvel, Disney seems to want to take advantage of the vast history the Star Wars franchise has explored and build upon it amidst its under franchises under its belt.
What’s more shocking is that right off the bat, Disney reportedly has plans to get a “Star Wars 7″ movie in the works. George Lucas would still be around as a creative consultant.
Speaking of the man who made sci-fi blockbusters possible, he had this to say in the press release:
“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” said George Lucas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lucasfilm. “It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. I’m confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come. Disney’s reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products.”
I have to be honest – I’m conflicted. It’s definitely big news and Disney knows how to market and merchandise. That being said, this is also the same company that almost damaged Pixar’s creative vision before coming to terms and purchasing them. I’m sure people are ready for a change after Lucas’ prequel trilogy left bad tastes in their mouths along with Lucas himself of late saying he is tired of the fanboyism (although to be fair – some of that is justified).
Now you have to ask – what does all of this have to do with comics? Look no further than Dark Horse. Other than Hellboy and B.P.R.D., Dark Horse relies heavily on their licensed properties to compete in the direct market – Aliens, Predator, Terminator, Conan and yes – Star Wars too. Marvel was originally the go-to publisher back at the peak of Star Wars’ popularity in the early 1980′s. Disney now owns Marvel. You get where I’m going with this?
Obviously, this all just happened now, so we know nothing more about Disney’s plans with the companies. But you got to feel for Dark Horse and an uncertain future that’s been brought upon them.
We’ve been curious as to what director Shane Black was going to bring to the table with Iron Man 3 after the Jon Favreau era came to an end with the underwhelming 2nd movie. Black is notorious for his work on Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which coincidentally enough also starred Robert Downey, Jr.
Last night gave us a glimpse into what Black and Marvel will be giving us this coming April with the first teaser trailer:
We’re definitely seeing a different tone with this flick. And while it’s too early to tell, it seems to calm down on the comedy bits that we’d come to expect from Downey movies. We also get acknowledgement that Stark’s ordeal in New York in the Avengers movie comes back to haunt him in this one.
I love what I’m seeing so far. It’s a nice boost to the franchise that was lambasted in its last movie for being too similar to the first one. Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin sounds over the top, but then again we put up with that with Bane in Dark Knight Rises, so why not here too?
May 3rd, 2013 is when it lands here in the states.
Marvel’s Avengers movie only made about a gazillion dollars, so there was skepticism as to whether or not sequels to their popular characters and introducing new ones was going to fly with the SDCC audience at yesterday’s movie panel.
Nah, just screwing with you. Marvel announced five different movies in the works for the next 2-3 years. 3 of them were pretty much a given with the core Avengers getting sequels, but doesn’t take the excitement away:
We know Iron Man 3 is next on the Marvel list, scheduled to come out May 3rd, 2013. Shane Black is directing and Ben Kingsley looks like he’s set to take the role of Iron Man’s biggest villain, Mandarin.
November 8th of next year will see Thor : The Dark World. The majority of the cast returns under the direction of Alan Taylor this time, who a few of you may know as the guy behind HBO’s Game of Thrones. Sounds like a good fit to me.
The sequel was not surprising, but the subtitle was. Reportedly producing the biggest positive reaction from the crowd, it looks like we’re getting one of the best Ed Brubaker arcs adapted to the big screen. Joe and Anthony Russo, directors of Arrested Development and Community, are directing the movie, scheduled to come out April 4, 2014. Interesting choice for a release date.
And then there was the confirmation we were waiting to hear about after the rumors went out a few weeks ago. Guardians of the Galaxy will be the 2014 movie to watch for, giving Marvel plenty of time to build the name up for audiences not familiar with the cosmic team. The team is set to be Star-Lord, Drax, Gamora, Rocket Raccoon, and Groot. Here’s some concept art to salivate over:
And then lastly, Edgar Wright (of Scott Pilgrim fame) ran a test clip of Ant-Man to the panel, which reportedly received positive approval. Still no word on casting and given what we’ve learned of the movies coming out so far, we’re probably still way too early to get anything notable of this flick for a while.
Just looking at this lineup (along with the inevitable Avengers sequel most likely hitting 2015), it’s clearly showing that Marvel is hitting its stride with movie adaptations compared to what DC has had to offer (minus the upcoming Dark Knight Rises).
Marvel has seen a renaissance in its animated programming the last couple of years, starting with Avengers : Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and working its way up to Ultimate Spider-Man earlier this year. Shake-ups have been the rumors lately along with new shows on the horizon. Today’s Marvel TV panel, headed up by Marvel’s head of television, Jeph Loeb, gave us some insight as to where the programming is going next:
Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.
Leave it to Loeb to kick it off with this new series, considering he was the mean that introduced Red Hulk to the world of comics a couple of years ago. Given Hulk’s rising popularity between the animated show and the Avengers flick, it comes to no surprise that this would get the green light to come on.
“We thought it would be good to be able to show Hulk as a hero,” he said. Loeb, who launched the Red Hulk and ultimately extended the Hulk family, showed test footage of the upcoming show, which features Hulk, Red Hulk, She-Hulk, and A-Bomb.
The Hulks, including Skaar, fight bug beasts and other monsters, ending with the rallying cry “Time to smash!” The show will debut in 2013.
Expect more shenanigans with Spidey and his S.H.I.E.L.D. teammates as they tangle with villains like Kraven, Lizard, and Rhino. There’s speculation that Spider-Ham will be an episode of the show. That’ll do just fine.
Many may remember some of the mature movies Marvel took on such as Thor & Loki : Blood Brothers. Loeb confirmed that they have more in the pipeline including Astonishing X-Men, Inhumans, Wolverine : Origin, and Wolverine : Weapon X.
And then of course, there’s the giant elephant in the room. It was noted earlier in the year that Marvel was ending Avengers : Earth’s Mightiest Heroes once its completes this season’s run as a way to take the animation in-house. Ultimate Spider-Man is already under Marvel, hence it only made fiscal sense to roll up its other popular property under it too. Loeb though had this to say:
“Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” was always going to be 52 episodes, an animation industry standard order. When that show concluded itself, we had an issue on our hands, what to do next.
Avengers Assemble plans to continue that continuity though fortunately, though obviously with different animation and voice acting not yet finalized.
DC’s New 52 gets criticized for not taking too many risks with its flagship characters. Barry Allen’s origin isn’t altered much, but his environment, powers, and villains certainly are. Factor in Francis Manapul’s continuing exquisite art and you got another consistently great run for the fastest man alive.
Wolverine and the X-Men #6 is just all about fun. Jason Aaron has really made this into such an enjoyable book amidst all of the dark and gritty material we get from our comics. And yet he continues to make it compelling for readers. I’ve also grown to like Nick Bradshaw’s art more and more with each issue.
And where would a Quick Picks be without a Scott Snyder sighting? Only this time, he lets Rafael Albuquerque shine in American Vampire #24. Whether you like your car chases, your gritty asylums, or your vampires, Albuqerque draws it all with style.
Creator-owned comics at its finest is displayed this week, as Scott Snyder, Scott Tuft, and Attila Futaki wrap up their Image horror masterpiece with Severed #7. The build-up and pay-off were all wonderfully done. And if the rumors are true about a planned sequel down the road, I feel that poor Jack won’t be wanting any more salesmen any time soon.
Adam Glass is making Suicide Squad his won with issue #6. This starts off the Hunt for Harley Quinn storyline that tells Harley’s origin in the new DCU. Not much seems to be changing with her story, but doesn’t make it less entertaining to read.
And how could we say no to more Jason Aaron wackiness with Wolverine and the X-Men #5? This book has become the one to read to stay on top on all things X-Men relevant. And I’ve grown to appreciate Nick Bradshaw’s art more this time around. Read it just to find out what comes of Kitty’s “babies”…
Music provided by Ben Base – War of the Robots