Marvel

Captain Marvel takes a while to click, but eventually comes together for a payoff

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Carol Danvers has been a C-list character in Marvel Comics for most of her 50-year history. Only within the past seven years has she held the mantle of Captain Marvel that sells her as a pretty big addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Danvers has a convoluted comic book history, one that surely made her difficult to distill into something simpler for a movie. Yet like Tony Stark before her, the lack of a signature storyline made Danvers a blank slate for Marvel Studios and the five writers (including Guardians of the Galaxy's Nicole Perlman and Inside Out's Meg LaFauve) who took a crack at Captain Marvel's story.

A comic book overhaul in 2012 by writer Kelly Sue DeConnick (who appropriately has a quick cameo in the movie) made Danvers a tougher, more accessible character fueled by all of the doubts and obstacles encountered throughout her life. That perseverance is what pushed her into becoming an elite fighter pilot and gave her the edge to stand as an equal with Captain America, Iron Man, and the other Avengers.

Read the full review here

Highlights from Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer - Hey Nick Fury, there's Mysterio, and how many villains are in this?

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According to rumors, we were supposed to get a trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home in the first week of December, during CCXP in Brazil and shortly after the Avengers: Endgame trailer debuted. That obviously didn’t happen, either because Marvel preferred not to flood the zone with two big trailers in one weekend or because Marvel and Sony didn’t want to draw attention away from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse by promoting their live-action friendly neighborhood wall-crawler.

But it’s been approximately six weeks now, which is a good distance from those other blockbusters. And Spider-Verse reminded us how special a character Spider-Man is (in several dimensions), presumably increasing anticipation for Tom Holland’s next swing as Peter Parker.

The wait is over! With no advance hype or tease the night before (tactics used for the Captain Marvel previews), Sony and Marvel sprung the first trailer for Far From Home online Tuesday morning.

Good timing, amidst a kind of slow period in comic book and comic book movie culture. The Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer gets the spotlight to itself and with little going on, we’ll all surely examine every second of this nearly three-minute preview.

As we like to do for big trailers (especially for superhero movies), here are some takeaways from this first look at the next Spider-Man big-screen adventure:

Aunt May is cool with Spider-Man

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Spider-Man: Homecoming ended with the surprising and hilarious moment of Peter Parker’s Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) discovering that her nephew was Spider-Man. May’s “What the f—-?” was quickly cut off by the credits, leaving us to wonder where this left the relationship between Peter and May and how this might affect future superheroing.

Based on the opening moments of this trailer, May is fine with Peter risking his life as a costumed superhero. Maybe that’s because she’s figured out how to use Spider-Man’s stardom to help the local community. He really is “Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.”

Also looking to be friendly is Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau), who’s taken a liking to Peter’s extremely attractive aunt. (He’s also apparently very aware of her wardrobe choices.) Happy and Aunt May aren’t a thing in the comic books (he ends up with Pepper Potts), but this is a good example of how the movies can create a fresh take on familiar characters and storylines. Will we get a Happy-Aunt May date?

Peter wants a break from Spider-Man

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To me, one of the strengths of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies was exploring the idea that Bruce Wayne eventually wanted to give up crime-fighting. Who would want to continue that sort of life forever? Obviously, Peter Parker’s situation is very different, but it’s not at all difficult to believe that a high school kid would want to get away from anything that feels like a burden.

So when Peter has an opportunity for a European vacation, albeit a school trip with his classmates and friends (more Ned, please!), he wants to leave Spider-Man behind. Make it a real vacation! Get to know Mary Jane better! He can’t be Spidey if the suit is back in Queens, right? Right?

Nick Fury is watching

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Silly Peter! Superheroes don’t get a vacation. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) hasn’t gotten to know this kid who was invited by Tony Stark to join the Avengers and gifted some high-tech Spidey gear. (Fury shadowing Peter also introduces a dynamic that was a key part of the Ultimate Spider-Man comics and animated series.)

If there’s a threat that Fury wants to take down in London, it’s curious as to why he didn’t utilize Captain America or Iron Man for the job. But this is probably a good time to mention that Far From Home takes place after Avengers: Endgame and we don’t know where that epic leaves those heroes.

For the purposes of this story, however, maybe Fury sees this as an opportunity to see what young Peter Parker is capable of while performing whatever task is needed. He’s the one who probably hooks Spidey up with his new suits (including the all-black stealth costume), as well.

Whoa, is that Sandman?

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Sandman is one of Spider-Man’s classic villains from the earliest Marvel Comics adventures. He did appear in Spider-Man 3 (played by Thomas Haden Church), but was pushed aside once Venom hijacked the story. It sure looks like Fury and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) are taking on a new version of Sandman in the trailer, but he’s almost certainly not a big part of the story.

However, it does appear that Sandman is one of three Spidey villains that show up in this film, along with Molten Man and the already rumored Hydro-Man. This is a clever way to work more of Spider-Man’s rogues gallery into these movies (unless you’re disappointed over Sandman not getting his own story), but the appearance of these characters leads to a question regarding the main villain of the piece.

Hello, Mysterio!

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We knew that Jake Gyllenhaal signed on as a villain in the next Spider-Man movie and set photos confirmed that he was playing Mysterio (cheekily referenced by the actor himself on Instagram), another of Spider-Man’s celebrated adversaries. But in arguably the best reveal of the Far From Home trailer, we get our first look at Gyllenhaal as the master illusionist.

With a costume that resembles a warrior from Asgard (and powers like Doctor Strange’s), Mysterio is presumably trying to portray himself as a hero to the masses. (And Peter’s classmates are intrigued, except for bully Flash Thompson.) What’s his motivation? Well, if the script follows comic book storylines, Mysterio (aka Quentin Beck) is a special effects master and stuntman who struck out in Hollywood.

Does he create illusions of Sandman, Molten Man and Hydro-Man to make it appear as if he’s a hero saving the day? It sure looks that way. But maybe it’s more than that, and Beck registered on Fury’s radar somehow with a bigger crime in mind.

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Overall, this is a fun trailer that rewards fans who have been waiting for months to see new Spider-Man action. It’s not a teaser that reveals very little, taking time to explain the story points. Yet it also doesn’t reveal too much, leaving enough questions that will intrigue the audience and invite speculation for months to come.

Where’s Tony Stark? Will there be any repercussions from what happens in Avengers: Endgame? (Obviously, Peter, Fury and Hill all survived — or were brought back from — the events of Infinity War.) What is Mysterio’s deal? Will Peter and Mary Jane start going out? Or Happy and Aunt May? What other new toys will Spidey get to play with?

UPDATE: An international version of the trailer was also released, which includes entirely different footage in the opening 30 seconds. Looks Like Peter didn’t leave the Spidey suit back in Queens, after all. (Hat tip, Slashfilm)

Spider-Man: Far From Home swings into theaters on July 5.

Highlights from the new Captain Marvel trailer: Noble warrior heroes, blue blood and alien kitties

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Kicking off a big week for Marvel, the second trailer for Captain Marvel debuted during halftime of Monday Night Football. (The long-awaited first look at “Avengers” 4 is expected to debut Wednesday morning during Good Morning America.) ESPN was likely grateful for some corporate synergy to draw viewers to the broadcast who probably weren’t interested in watching the Eagles play the Redskins.

It’s often interesting to compare the first and second trailers for a blockbuster movie marketing campaign, and see what the intention is toward the audience. As we saw back in September, the first Captain Marvel trailer was more of an introduction to Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) and her abilities, emphasizing showy points like the story taking place in the 1990s and younger versions of characters like Nick Fury and Phil Coulson.

With the intro now out of the way, this latest trailer focuses more on the story. The Skrulls and Kree are alien races at war, and the conflict has made its way to Earth.

With rumors of trailers for Avengers 4 and Spider-Man: Far From Home (along with Shazam! or Godzilla vs. Kong from the non-Marvel realm), there’s the possibility that Captain Marvel’s new preview gets quickly overshadowed. But probably not, with the goodies that this trailer includes and the likelihood that it will be attached to some blockbusters during the holidays like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Mary Poppins Returns. (Probably Aquaman, too.)

For now, however, Captain Marvel has the spotlight to herself. Here are some takeaways from our latest look at Marvel’s newest star:

That’s why Captain Marvel hit that old lady

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For many viewers, one of the shocking moments from the first Captain Marvel trailer was seeing our hero belt a kindly old woman on a train. Who would punch an old woman? What kind of hero does that? But most Marvel Comics fans guessed that the civilian was a Skrull in disguise. And what better way to demonstrate their shape-shifting abilities than to take the form of a seemingly harmless elderly woman?

This time, we see the follow-up. That old lady isn’t harmless, providing the entertaining visual (with guttural growl) of her springing out of her seat to drop-kick Captain Marvel in the chest and cartwheel down the corridor. For the sake of public perception, let’s hope that the Skrull reverts to its true form after Danvers knocks her out. Otherwise, the Kree might have a public relations issue with the other passengers on that train. (Not that she’d care…)

Hey, it’s Annette Bening!

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One of the fun things about Marvel movies is to see actors not typically associated with blockbuster films (Glenn Close, Robert Redford, etc.) get to play a role. Annette Bening joins that group, though we don’t know exactly what part she’s playing in Captain Marvel.

While it might be fun to see her fulfill an older mentor type of role, like Liam Neeson did in Batman Begins and Star Wars: Episode I, the assumption is that Jude Law’s character will provide guidance for Carol Danvers. Based on what we hear from Bening in this trailer (“we made you one of us”), she has more to do with programming Danvers into a soldier for the Kree, changing her physiology (which includes blue blood), and so forth.

There’s a Skrull!

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We got a brief glimpse of Marvel’s legendary shape-shifting alien invaders in the first Captain Marvel trailer, but get a much closer look here. Additionally, we get some dialogue from Ben Mendelsohn’s Talos, who will hopefully be a villain on par with Orson Krennic from Rogue One. (Mendelsohn also played something of a bad guy for directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck in 2015’s Mississippi Grind.)

The Skrulls have been long overdue to appear in a Marvel movie. At one point, it was believed that the rights to the Skrulls belonged to Fox as part of the Fantastic Four’s package of characters and that’s why they didn’t appear in The Avengers. But the rights are obviously shared between studios, like Quicksilver was between the Avengers and X-Men films. (Such rights issues will be a moot point with the Disney-Fox merger.)

With their ability to take the form of any person, it’s expected that the Skrulls could become a major player in the studio’s next phase of films. Could some of our favorite heroes end up being an alien menace in disguise in future Marvel films? That could be fun and upsetting.

She has the power!

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Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has said that Captain Marvel is the most powerful hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Those familiar with the character from the comic books nod knowingly and approvingly. But that might be a tougher sell to fans who think Carol Danvers couldn’t possibly be more powerful than Iron Man or the Hulk. Or what about Thanos?

Obviously, we’ve yet to see on screen just how powerful Captain Marvel can be. This movie and Avengers 4 will surely take significant steps to establish how powerful she is. (Will she be the key to defeating Thanos, for instance?)

But the trailer provides a hint of that in its climactic moment with Danvers saying that she’s going to end the war between the Skrulls and Kree. We then see her surge with power, fly above the Earth and destroy spaceships with energy fired from her hands. (Oh, and she’s doing so wearing that cool battle helmet — designed by Jamie McKelvie for the comics — which forms her hair into a mohawk. We haven’t seen Thor or Iron Man do that. Stand back.

That’s no kitty, nick fury

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Based on this trailer, one of the highlights of the movie promises to be the banter between Carol Danvers and a younger, pre-eye patch Nick Fury. This is literally a side of Fury we haven’t seen before. He has both of his eyes, a full head of hair, and isn’t the sardonic badass we’ve come to know in the Marvel films.

Fury also apparently has a soft spot for cats. But the little kitty with which the future director of S.H.I.E.L.D. is so smitten — who also lurks in the shadows of the first Captain Marvel poster — isn’t a terrestrial feline. No, sir. That’s an alien lifeform.

The cat is a relatively recent addition to the Captain Marvel mythology, which has been built up over the past 10 to 15 years as her role has become more important in the Marvel Comics universe. Named Goose, surely as a nod to Danvers’ pilot days (the cat is called Chewie in the comics), the pet is actually a Flerkin. Flerkins resemble cats, much like Rocket Raccoon looks like a terrestrial raccoon.

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Rocket and Goose (Chewie) have actually butted heads in the comics, so maybe that gives us something to look forward to in Avengers 4. In the meantime, it’s probably a good idea for Fury to be sweet to that little beast. Otherwise, he might reveal those fanged tendrils that reside deep in his mouth.

There’s an air of mystery to Captain Marvel

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Fortunately, this second trailer doesn’t reveal everything. There’s even a hint at a mystery that Danvers (and Fury) are likely trying to solve throughout the story.

“Something in my past is the key to all of this,” Danvers says to Fury. What exactly brought Danvers back to Earth? Was it simply her role in the Kree-Skrull War? Or is there more to it? Why was Danvers taken by the Kree in the first place? Was she in the wrong place at the wrong time, becoming an unwitting participant in an intergalactic battle? Was there something different about her from the very beginning?

We’ll get to see Captain Marvel in theaters on March 8, 2019.

Daredevil is the Man Without Netflix, joining Iron Fist and Luke Cage in cancellation

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It’s fair to say that Netflix is getting out of the Marvel business. Sure, there will be a Season 3 of Jessica Jones and a second season for The Punisher. But the cancellation of Netflix’s flagship Marvel series, Daredevil, surely means the inevitable end of that partnership.

Multiple outlets reported the news Thursday evening. (If you keep track of such things, Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva and Dominic Patten were first on it by a nose.) Daredevil’s cancellation comes nearly two months after the streaming network announced that two of its other Marvel series, Iron Fist and Luke Cage, weren’t being renewed for additional seasons.

— Related: Iron Fist won't get a third season on Netflix, taking away Danny Rand's TV chi

[Editor’s Note: Naturally, this news comes after we already recorded Episode 15 of The Amusement Park Podcast. We will almost certainly talk about this next week!]

Season 3 of Daredevil just launched six weeks ago on Netflix. The future of the show seemed uncertain in light of the other Marvel cancellations, but strong reviews among media and fans presumably gave it a chance for renewal. Yet no announcement for a fourth season came from Netflix or Marvel, which made fans nervous. That led to a recent online campaign to #RenewDaredevil on social media.

In the past, these sorts of campaigns and petitions have had mixed success. But a few have paid off, which kept hope alive. Yet it’s also worth asking whether or not a campaign flooding social media or petition flooded with names would have even mattered.

Season 3 showrunner Erik Oleson even told fans on Twitter that he pitched Season 4 to Netflix. (Season 1 was run by Steven S. DeKnight, while Marco Ramirez and Doug Petrie oversaw Season 2.) Obviously, executives weren’t convinced. Or they had already made their decision.

Earlier this month, ScreenRant reported some surprising information that surely factored into Netflix’s decision-making process. According to data from analytics company Jumpshot, viewership for Daredevil’s third season had dropped 57 percent compared to the first weeks from Seasons 1 and 2. (Iron Fist dropped 64 percent, while Luke Cage suffered a 59 percent drop.) It’s the closest data to ratings available, since Netflix doesn’t release those numbers to the public.

The Luke Cage cancellation was the true indication that Netflix was no longer enamored with its Marvel shows. A Season 3 renewal seemed like a formality before producers clashed with executives over creative direction.

Related: Luke Cage joins Iron Fist in Netflix cancellation line, literally becoming TV Heroes For Hire

But Netflix doesn’t own the Marvel shows as it does with other series on the network like Stranger Things, Ozark, Bojack Horseman, The Crown, Master of None, GLOW, Narcos and so many, many others. Marvel licensed its shows to Netflix and produced them through ABC. So if the series were expensive and viewership was waning, Netflix obviously felt it was better off going with the properties from which full profit could be derived. And there is a lot more content now available on Netflix than there was when the deal with Marvel was signed in 2013.

(Netflix probably isn’t thrilled that Disney is launching a competing service either, one which will eventually take away many of the movies and TV shows which currently provide so much of its content.)

As has been the case for the past couple of months, the question now becomes whether these series can find new life elsewhere. Netflix’s official statement ended by saying “the Daredevil character will live on in future projects for Marvel.” The presumption is that the shows could jump over to Disney’s new streaming service. Disney+ is developing Marvel series featuring Loki, Scarlet Witch, and a Falcon-Winter Soldier team-up. Whether or not Disney+ is interested in carrying more adult content like Daredevil along with its family-friendly fare remains to be seen.

But the two Star Wars live-action series soon to launch on the service figure to appeal to older audiences. Maybe a Daredevil or Luke Cage wouldn’t be quite as dark. Or if Marvel would prefer to emphasize stronger violence, language and sex for its street-level heroes, the company also owns a stake in Hulu and might provide a better platform there. (Marvel already has a Hulu series with Runaways, which launches its second season on Dec. 21.)

If this is it for Daredevil on TV, Season 3 ended with what could be perceived as a series finale. (Though there was something of a cliffhanger that would’ve led into a Season 4.) No Marvel character has suffered more than Matt Murdock, which the Netflix series (along with The Defenders) certainly got right. Charlie Cox was an excellent Murdock (and Daredevil!) and no one will ever be a better Wilson Fisk than Vincent D’Onofrio. We’ll always have those long-take fight scenes in hallways, stairwells and prisons.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is getting a sequel and 'Spider-Women' spinoff

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Sony is opening the door to its Spider-Verse with the upcoming Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. If you saw Venom and stayed through the credits, you know that the studio is establishing that there’s a whole bunch of other Spider-Man universes besides the one we’re currently seeing with the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Tom Holland’s version of Peter Parker and our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.

If Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is as good as the trailers make it look, audiences are going to have no trouble buying into the notion that multiple Spider-Men or spider-powered superheroes exist across multiple dimensions and timelines. People will want to see more Miles Morales. And Sony is banking that we’ll also want to see more Spider-Gwen (Gwen Stacy) and several other female Spider-heroes.

According to The Hollywood Reporter’s Borys Kit, Sony Pictures Animation is developing both a sequel to Spider-Verse and a female-centric spin-off. This news indicates that Sony is expecting big things from its animated Spider-Man film, which is still two weeks away from hitting theaters on Dec. 14.

The Spider-Verse sequel will continue the story of what figures to be an extremely popular character in the teenage, black and Latino Miles Morales. That project will be written by David Callaham (Wonder Woman 1984, Zombieland 2) and directed by Joaquim Dos Santos, whom many fans will know from his work on Justice League Unlimited (in addition to several DC animated shorts), The Legend of Korra and Voltron.

However, the “Spider-Women” film might be the far more interesting initiative. Spider-Gwen and Peni Parker — an anime-type version who wears a giant armored suit called SP//dr — will both be introduced in Spider-Verse, so it’s reasonable to assume both characters will be prominent parts of this spin-off. (Spider-Gwen has also been on the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series.)

But which other Spider-Women could join them in the story is the question that makes this movie most intriguing.

Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew, seems like a natural addition to the cast. Not only would Drew possibly attract some longtime comic book fans who remember her adventures from the late-1970s, her affiliation with the Brian Michael Bendis edition of the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. counterpart S.W.O.R.D., and a 2016 limited series in which she got a redesigned, modern costume.

Drew even had her own cartoon series in 1979:

There’s also another version of Spider-Woman, Julia Carpenter, who was introduced in the 1984 Secret Wars miniseries and was eventually a member of the Avengers. Somehow, she was part of the ensemble in the 1994 Iron Man animated series.

Other “Spider Women” who could appear in this movie include:

  • Silk, a Korean-American named Cindy Moon, a Korean-American woman who is bitten by the same radioactive spider that attacked Peter Parker. Earlier this year, news broke that Sony was developing a live-action movie for the character. Moon has been in both Spider-Man: Homecoming and Avengers: Infinity War as Parker’s classmate, but it’s not known if actress Tiffany Espensen would be cast in the role.

  • Spider-Girl, the daughter of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson who was featured in several Marvel Comics titles during the early 2000s. Another character, Anya Corazon (first known as Araña), took the Spider-Girl name in 2010.

  • Madame Web, a clairvoyant who needs a mechanical web-like life support system to survive. (Julia Carpenter became a new version of Madame Web in the comic books.)

So there are plenty of paths this project could take. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse demonstrates that Sony is willing to take advantage of the rich, deep mythology created in decades of Marvel Comics. That includes live-action films featuring Spider-villains Morbius the Living Vampire (to be played by Jared Leto), along with Silver Sable and Black Cat (though that movie is currently stalled).

The “Spider-Women” film will be directed by Lauren Montgomery, who has plenty of animated superhero bonafides from helming Superman/Batman: Apocalypse and Batman: Year One. She’ll work from a script written by Bek Smith (Zoo).

Don't worry: Stan Lee already filmed his cameo for Avengers 4

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Plenty of thoughts and memories surged in our minds (and emotions in our hearts) upon hearing the news that Stan Lee passed away at the age of 95. But how many of you soon wondered whether or not Lee had filmed a cameo for Avengers 4, currently scheduled for a May 3, 2019 release?

Not to worry, True Believers. As noted by HitFix, Lee had already finished filming his appearance in the film, which shouldn’t be a surprise to those following every development concerning Avengers 4 closely. Principal photography, including reshoots, wrapped in October.

Here’s the Lee cameo from Avengers: Infinity War.

But directors Joe and Anthony Russo actually filmed Lee’s cameo while making Avengers: Infinity War, getting through his appearances in various movies in one day so he didn’t have to fly back and forth at his age.

Joe Russo explained the process in an April BBC Radio interview, via ComicBook.com:

“So, Stan, typically we try to get him out — he doesn't love to fly — so we try to get him out for his cameos around the same time. So if we have other movies shooting on the same lot that we're on, for instance Ant-Man [and the Wasp] or Avengers 4, we group his cameos together and then move him from one set to the next and get him through his cameos in one day.”

So we can guess that Lee filmed at least three cameos (including Ant-Man and the Wasp, embedded below). Maybe four, presuming that Captain Marvel was filming around the same time.

No word on what Lee’s cameo will be in Avengers 4, but why would you want to know that now anyway? The fun with those appearances is when and where they unexpectedly pop up. Sometimes, Lee plays bystander characters. Other times, he’s a part of the story. But the cameos are almost always fun.

Plenty of enterprising video bloggers have assembled collections of Lee’s many cameo appearances in Marvel movies. Picking one favorite would be difficult. For pure laughs, I’d choose Tony Stark mistaking Lee (or someone who looks just like him) for Hugh Hefner in Iron Man.

He was actually a part of the story in The Incredible Hulk, drinking tainted soda that allowed the government to find Bruce Banner.

But personally, I like Lee’s appearance as the Fantastic Four’s mailman, Willie Lumpkin, because he’s playing an actual Marvel character he helped create.

How about you? What are your favorite Stan Lee cameo appearances?

Stan Lee left behind a legacy unlike any other

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What was the difference between Marvel and DC comics through most of their respective existences? DC's heroes are arguably more iconic, especially the trinity of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. But Lee's superheroes were so much more human than DC's.

Peter Parker had to worry about homework, girls at school, and helping his Aunt May with money. The Fantastic Four sometimes couldn't pay rent for their space atop the Baxter Building. Bruce Banner constantly lived in fear that the monster inside him would destroy everything he held dear. Thor had to live in the body of a cripple on Earth to teach him humility.

Stan Lee reached out and bonded with the fans, referring to them as "True Believers" and signing off with "Excelsior!" like we were all members of a club.

— Read the full post here —

Luke Cage joins Iron Fist in Netflix cancellation line, literally becoming TV Heroes For Hire

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One week after Netflix’s somewhat surprising cancellation of Marvel’s Iron Fist, the streaming network followed up with what has to be viewed as a shocking decision: Luke Cage will also not be renewed for a third season.

As with the Iron Fist news, Deadline was the first to report that Luke Cage is being canceled. (No soft landing for Danny Rand on another Marvel Netflix show.) What makes Netflix shutting down the series especially unexpected is that a renewal for a third season was considered a formality. Not to mention that the announcement comes on the same day that Daredevil’s Season 3 debuted. (Maybe this is sort of a warning to fans: If you want a fourth season for Daredevil, you’d better watch.)

According to Deadline’s Dominic Patten and Nellie Andreeva, scripts had been written for at least half of Season 3 and received notes from both Marvel and Netflix. The production wheel was turning. But Marvel and Netflix executives reportedly didn’t like the scripts that showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker and his staff had produced, nor the direction that the writers were pointing Season 3. As much as “creative differences” can often be a vague explanation for why a project fell apart, that’s apparently what really happened here.

Via Deadline:

“Add to that, the writers’ room was put on hold for a week in September, as the streamer and the Disney-owned company were figuring out the mechanisms of changing the deal for the planned Luke Cage third season from the original 13 episodes to a slimmed down 10 episodes. It eventually escalated to behind-the-scenes turmoil in the past two days and demands for changes in creative regime. With Marvel and Netflix seemingly intractable and in different sides of the disputes, a harsh cancelation became the only viable exit strategy, it appears.”

Many might think that Luke Cage and Coker earned the creative benefit of the doubt after two successful seasons on Netflix (although we don’t know exactly what “successful” means, since viewership numbers and ratings aren’t released). And asking for a shortened 10-episode season seems justifable, considering the prior two seasons felt stretched out to fill 13 episodes.

But the Deadline report points out that Netflix is a very different landscape than it was when those four Marvel series were greenlit. Netflix doesn’t own the series, as it does with shows like Narcos, Master of None, Altered Carbon, Ozark and so many more that now exist on the network. So an expensive show like Luke Cage (along with Daredevil, Jessica Jones, The Punisher, Iron Fist, and The Defenders) really has to perform. The presumption was that it did, but obviously, the series didn’t perform so well that it was a no-brainer to renew.

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So does Luke Cage have a future? The immediate response from many fans was that the series could bounce over to Disney’s streaming service, which could probably use the content. Yet the Marvel Netflix series are of a more adult nature and it’s unclear whether or not Disney Play wants that sort of programming alongside family-friendly movies and TV shows.

With both Luke Cage and Iron Fist canceled, however, the opportunity is there for an overhauled series that could give comic book fans the “Heroes For Hire” team-up that they’ve wanted ever since those characters were adapted for TV. Such a show could also incorporate the Misty Knight and Colleen Wing characters that are just as, if not more popular than the marquee superheroes.

Frankly, it could also provide some programming that features minorities, something that is arguably lacking among the current content set to launch on Disney Play.

But if Luke Cage isn’t right for Disney, what about one of Netflix’s streaming competitors? The show has an established brand, and star Mike Colter is a popular, recognizable face now. Amusement Park Podcast co-host Chris Cox suggested that Hulu would be an excellent landing point, and they’re already in the Marvel business with Runaways. That could be a really good fit. (Some might suggest Amazon too, but the guess is that the same issues with ownership and expense would come up there.)

Netflix is still in the Marvel business. Jessica Jones has been renewed for a third season (though that might be it for the series, with showrunner Melissa Rosenberg moving to Warner Brothers) and The Punisher will get a second run. If Daredevil’s Season 3 is successful, a fourth season seems likely. But a “Daughters of the Dragon” or a new series with another street-level Marvel character like Moon Knight probably isn’t going to happen at Netflix.

The creative leash clearly isn’t as generous as it was before and the pressure to perform has increased. At this point, maybe it’s natural that Marvel and Netflix will eventually part ways (especially with Disney Play now in play). What’s become clear is that nothing can be taken for granted. Yet will one door closing mean another one opening?

Iron Fist won't get a third season on Netflix, taking away Danny Rand's TV chi

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Danny Rand may refer to himself as “The Immortal Iron Fist,” but Marvel’s martial arts master has reached his mortality on Netflix.

As first reported by Deadline, Netflix and Marvel announced that Iron Fist would not be returning for a third season, becoming the first of the Marvel Netflix shows to be canceled. That news is somewhat surprising because Iron Fist’s second season — with Raven Metzner taking over as showrunner from Scott Buck — was widely viewed as a vast improvement to the subpar first run of the series.

Netflix doesn’t release viewership numbers or ratings, but it’s apparent that bad reviews for that first season and a lackluster reaction to The Defenders carried over to Iron Fist’s second run. What surely makes the cancellation decision particularly disappointing to fans is that the second season ended on a high note with a clear direction toward continuing the story.

** Spoiler alert for those who haven’t watched Iron Fist, Season 2 **

The final episode of Season 2 ended with Rand passing the Iron Fist power over to Colleen Rand, who was using her newfound abilities — channeled into her katana sword — to protect New York’s Chinatown. Consequently, Rand sought to find out who had allowed adversary Davos to gain the power of the Iron Fist and traveled to Asia (with Ward Meachum) to investigate.

It’s revealed that the two are looking for a man named Orson Randall. Readers of the Ed Brubaker-David Aja Immortal Iron Fist comic books know that Randall was the Iron Fist of World War I. The last image we see is Rand revealing that he’s regained the Iron Fist power and is able to channel his chi through a pair of pistols, which is exactly how Randall wielded his talent.

[End of spoiler alert]

That ending ramped up anticipation for a Season 3, but Netflix’s decision puts that in serious doubt. However, it also opened the door to a variety of speculation.

With Disney launching its new streaming service, Disney Play, it’s a possibility that Iron Fist could find new life there. But if viewers haven’t really responded to Iron Fist, is that a series that Disney wants to feature on its new service? Especially when mini-series with character like Loki and Scarlet Witch are in development?

More intriguing than another Iron Fist run would be a “Daughters of the Dragon” series featuring Colleen Wing and Misty Knight. But maybe those characters will appear in upcoming seasons of Luke Cage or Jessica Jones, both of which are expected to get third seasons on Netflix. (Maybe we’ll get that “Heroes for Hire” Luke Cage-Iron Fist team-up in Season 3.) Daredevil (whose third season premieres next week) and The Punisher could get additional seasons as well.

So Netflix isn’t getting out of the Marvel business. Maybe they’ll even look to replace Iron Fist with another “street-level” character like Moon Knight. There’s some wishful geek thinking.

James Gunn ready to jump from Marvel to DC and take over Suicide Squad 2

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Marvel’s loss is apparently about to become DC’s gain.

As first reported by The Wrap’s Umberto Gonzalez and Beatrice Verhoeven, James Gunn is in discussions with Warner Brothers to write a new script for Suicide Squad 2. He may also be in line to direct the project.

Gunn is only available to take over the Suicide Squad sequel because he was fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 by Disney after a series of old tweets making tasteless jokes about pedophilia and rape were brought to attention by right-wing activists. Though Marvel pushed to have Gunn reinstated and many supporters criticized Disney for the swift decision, the studio didn’t waver. With no director, the production for GotG 3 was put on hold, though Gunn’s script for the film will still likely be used.

Besides being the creative force behind the GotG franchise, another reason Marvel advocated for bringing Gunn back was because other studios were ready to line up for his services once he was cut loose. It wasn’t difficult to draw the conclusion that Warner Brothers and DC would be more than happy to hire one of Marvel’s top directors if he became available. And now, that’s apparently exactly what’s happening.

Suicide Squad is a perfect fit for Gunn. The group of supervillains turned government operatives by threat of death is a roguish collection of characters similar to what Gunn had with the Guardians. Maybe Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon and Groot weren’t villains, per se, but they were thieves. Gamora and Drax were definitely murderous!

TheWrap’s report says that Gunn is bringing “a completely new take” to the project, so it’s not a given that the group in Suicide Squad 2 will be Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, Killer Croc, Katana and Rick Flagg. But being in the Harley Quinn business with Margot Robbie is smart for DC, so it’s a safe bet that she’ll be in the movie. Unless Will Smith is too expensive, Warner Bros. probably wants his star power. Viola Davis as Amanda Waller bring some prestige too.

But everyone else in the group seems expendable, though the lineup has been pretty consistent throughout Suicide Squad’s comic book run. (Technically, all of these characters are expendable under Waller’s supervision.) Does anyone really want to see Cara Delevingne as the Enchantress again? Maybe all of the cast is contractually obligated to return. That might include Jared Leto’s Joker too.

The possibility of Gunn doing a deep dive on DC’s archive of villains — as he did with Marvel’s cosmic characters — and possibly overhauling the group adds some excitement to this project. (Some villains will surely be dispatched quickly, in order to demonstrate the premise.) Also, Gunn is a proven commodity with superhero blockbusters, unlike Suicide Squad director David Ayer and Gavin O’Connor (The Accountant), who was previously slated to helm Suicide Squad 2.

Personally, I thought Disney had no choice but to fire Gunn after those tweets came out. Yes, those tweets were unearthed by people simply wanting to take down celebrities with liberal views, and Disney could have stood up to that effort. They’re in the family-friendly business and even if Gunn was acting in a persona meant to provoke and shock, that’s not a question executives wanted to keep answering.

We don’t yet know if Marvel will rebound and hire the right director for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, but their track record indicates they’ll find the right man or woman for the job. But Gunn’s fingerprints will still be on the movie. Maybe he’ll end up winning by taking on a fresh project for him and providing a boost for DC in the process.

And what if this ends up becoming a bigger role for him with DC Films too? Gunn has experience in helping build the Marvel cinematic universe. Could he do what Zack Snyder couldn’t and put together a cohesive, appealing collection of inter-connected superhero films? If so, this ultimately really could be DC’s gain.