Looking Ahead To Next Summer’s Films

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Even though summer doesn’t officially end for another couple of weeks, the summer movie season is basically over. Gone now are the blockbuster genre releases. It’s been a mixed bag frankly for this summer. Many of this year’s summer movies were entertaining but were riddled with plot holes or had pacing issues. So without the glow of a recent movie release, we fans can only look forward to next summer’s planned schedule. These are the movies to get excited about as we count down the months.

spideyThe Amazing Spider-Man 2 After successfully rebooting the Spider-Man movie franchise, Marc Webb returns to direct the latest Spider-Man movie, which features Jamie Foxx as Electro, Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn and Chris Cooper as Norman Osborn. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone also reprise their roles as Spider-Man and Gwen Stacey. May 2

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes was one of the best reboots that reinvented the Planet Of The Apes franchise with a captivating yarn about an ape with enhanced intelligence. Andy Serkis, who stole the last film with his mo-cap performance of Ceasar the super-intelligent ape, returns as apes and humanity battle for dominion of the planet. July 18

Edge Of Tomorrow This was originally called All You Need Is Kill but some marketing genius probably thought the new title was catchier. Anyway, Tom Cruise stars as an alien-fighting soldier in the future who is forced into a time loop where he is killed over and over again. June 6

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Godzilla Director Gareth Edwards hopes to banish those dreary memories from the last American take on the giant Kaiju. The director promises that the iconic monster will be presented as a true destructive force of nature; plus there will be epic monster battles! May 16

The Good Dinosaur Even though the film’s director was recently removed, Pixar’s latest offering sounds terrific. Some of the studio’s recent releases weren’t too impressive but this one may be one of their better efforts. May 30
UPDATE: We just learned that The Good Dinosaur has been delayed until Nov. 2015. Bummer.

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Guardians Of The Galaxy Will this Marvel film be their version of Star Wars or next year’s Pacific Rim? The clip we had on our Facebook page that was taken down was very intriguing and the brief glimpses of Rocket Raccoon captured our attention. Aug 1

How To Train Your Dragon 2 Dreamworks has proven lately that they are an animation studio to be taken seriously. The original film about a Viking boy and his pet dragon was a surprising, rousing success and the recent teaser of the sequel looks just as enthralling. June 20

Jupiter Ascending The Wachowskis, famous for The Matrix films, are looking for a big comeback. This film, which stars Mila Kunis as a futuristic cleaning lady who has a great destiny, may or may not be that coveted comeback vehicle. Too soon to tell. July 25

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Having decimated the Transformers film franchise, Michael Bay is now aiming his sights on the ’80s’ other big toy phenomenon. Only he isn’t directing the film, however it stars Megan Fox as April O’Neil.  Aug 8

Transformers: Age Of Extinction The fourth film in the reviled, yet popular franchise already sounds better than the others since it doesn’t feature Shia LaBeouf, but it’s still directed by Michael Bay. Let’s hope the shaky-cam is under control. June 27

X-Men: Days Of Future Past Bryan Singer returns to the X-Men film franchise with an epic tale involving time travel that bridges many of the franchise’s most popular characters like Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Prof. Xavier (Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy) and Magneto (Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender). May 23

 

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The Quicksilver Conundrum

quicksilver and petersThere has been a bit of a combination of both a cold and civil war when it comes to movies based on Marvel Comics characters. But lately things are heating up between movie studios and that’s best seen with the character of Quicksilver, the mutant superhero with superfast powers who is slated to appear in two competing movies: X-Men: Days Of Futures Past and The Avengers 2.

Here’s the background: before Marvel was acquired by The Walt Disney Company, Marvel sold the rights to many of its popular characters to different movie studios like 20th Century Fox and Sony Pictures, who co-produced them with Marvel Studios. That was the main reason characters didn’t crossover into other films. For example, in the Spider-Man films, you wouldn’t see a shot of Thor flying by the Daily Bugle’s windows.

Over time, Marvel Studios began regaining the rights to several characters, most notably the Hulk and Daredevil. These efforts kicked up into high gear after Disney acquired Marvel. The few remaining characters Marvel Studios doesn’t have the film rights to are Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men.

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The studios holding the rights to those characters know a cash cow when they see it and are fighting to retain the rights to the characters. Just recently Sony Pictures adamantly swore that they will never give up the rights to produce Spider-Man films, while Fox toyed with the idea last year to give back the rights to the Silver Surfer and Galactus–two Fantastic Four mainstays, in order to keep the rights to Daredevil.

Trying to get the X-Men characters will be a big problem, which is why Marvel seemed content to let Fox continue making X-Men films. That was until director Bryan Singer’s announcement last week. As the director of the upcoming X-Men: Days Of Futures Past, Bryan Singer stated that he had cast Evan Peters to play Quicksilver for the movie. Fans were excited with this idea, mainly because Joss Whedon announced weeks earlier that the same character will be in the sequel to his blockbuster hit The Avengers.

whedonAt first, it seemed as if this was to be some kind of crossover between the two film franchises but no so fast. Both studios are denying this is an attempted crossover. In fact, while Peters will play Quicksilver in X-Men: Days Of Futures Past, Joss Whedon, after confirming last week that Quicksilver will appear in The Avengers 2, said that he is still casting the role. If any of the two announcements were meant for the other side to blink, well it didn’t work. So the feeling for now is that both studios will just have to share Quicksilver.

The reason for the ability of both studios to use Quicksilver is that while Fox owns the X-Men film rights, Marvel does have the right to use Quicksilver and his sister, the Scarlet Witch, in their films just as long as there isn’t any mention that they are X-Men foe Magneto’s children. Meanwhile, in the X-Men films it cannot be stated that the mutant siblings are members of the Avengers (as is the case in the comic books).

This is a real treat for fans who clamor at the idea of a shared universe of all the Marvel characters. They can enjoy two different incarnations of the same character and imagine that both films take place in different time periods. For now, a completely shared cinematic universe is impossible but this casting conundrum brings that dream one step closer to reality.

Lewis T. Grove