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James Wan to direct Aquaman, Robotech

Australian filmmaker James Wan has inked twin deals to direct an Aquaman solo movie for Warner Bros, slated for release in 2018, and helm a live-action adaptation of classic anime Robotech at Sony. The Malaysian-born director is best known for launching the Saw and Insidious horror series, and recently helmed this year’s Furious 7.

Woody Harrelson cast as Clowes' Wilson; The Wicked + The Divine heading to TV

Woody Harrelson has been cast as the titular misanthropic Wilson in a forthcoming movie adaptation of the story from Daniel Clowes’ Eightball, alongside Laura Dern. Craig Johnson, who helmed last year’s The Skeleton Twins, will direct from a screenplay by Clowes.

Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s Eisner-nominated Image series The Wicked + The Divine has been optioned for television by Universal TV. Milkfed Criminal Masterminds, a production company recently founded by Marvel writers and celebrity comics couple Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue DeConnick, will oversee the adaptation.

Bloodshot movie adds directors

Sony Pictures and Valiant Entertainment have signed up David Leitch and Chad Stahelski, directors of this year’s surprise action hit John Wick, to helm a movie adaptation of Bloodshot slated for 2017. Valiant has inked a five-picture deal with Sony to bring its comics universe to the big screen, with plans for two Bloodshot and two Harbinger films leading into fifth feature uniting the two properties.

Russo Brothers to direct Avengers: Infinity War

The Hollywood Reporter notes Captain America: The Winter Soldier directors Joe and Anthony Russo are set to helm the two-part Avengers: Infinity War, with Joss Whedon stepping aside from the series after this year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. The pair will soon begin production on the third Captain America film Civil War, with returning screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely also rumoured to be in the frame for Infinity War. As the closer for ‘phrase three’ of the Marvel cinematic universe Infinity War will be split into two films slated for May releases in 2018 and 2019.

The Russo Brothers established themselves as directors on TV comedies including Community and Arrested Development, winning an Emmy for the helping the pilot episode of the latter, before switching to the big screen with last year’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

 

WB announces future DC movies

Warner Bros has announced a massive slate of future DC movies forming a Justice League-centric shared universe. Following Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016 will be a Suicide Squad movie directed by David Ayer (also 2016), Wonder Woman starring Batman v Superman's Gail Gadot (2017), Justice League Part One directed by Zack Snyder (2017), The Flash starring Ezra Miller (2018), Aquaman starring Game of Thrones' Jason Momoa (2018), Shazam starring Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam (2019), Justice League Part Two also directed by Snyder (2019), Cyborg starring Ray Fisher (2020), and finally a rebooted Green Lantern (2020). The announcement indicates these movies are in addition to future Superman and Batman solo movies.

Slashfilm has prepared a guide to superhero movies slated for release between now and the end of the decade, which includes 10 Marvel Studios movies, 10 movies featuring Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men from Sony and Fox, and now at least 10 DC movies.

Bleeding Cool claims Jena Malone will play a female Robin in Batman v Superman, furthering speculation the film will be based at least in part on Frank Miller's iconic The Dark Knight Returns.

 

Action Comics #1 sells for record price

A near-pristine copy of 1938’s Action Comics #1, featuring the first appearance of Superman, has sold via eBay auction for a record $US3.2 million. Rated at 9.0 by professional comics graders CGC, the issue was stored in a box for almost 40 years and passed through a small number of private hands before recently being purchased by US comics dealer Darren Adams. The previous sales record of $2.16m was set in 2011 for a copy of the same issue once owned by actor Nicholas Cage. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation which supports spinal cord injury research.

Zack Snyder to direct Justice League

The Wall Street Journal reports Zack Snyder will follow 2016's Superman/Batman movie with a Justice League feature film. The production is expected to feature a continuing cast of Henry Cavill as Superman, Ben Affleck as Batman and Gail Gadot as Wonder Woman, with Ray Fisher also recently cast as Cyborg in Superman/Batman. David Goyer is likely to script and produce Justice League as part of a recent three-picture deal with Warner Bros, having penned Man of Steel and developed the story for Superman/Batman for Argo screenwriter Chris Terrio.

The announcement has renewed rumours Justice League will be shot in whole or in part back-to-back with Superman/Batman, which could make a 2017 release possible. Warner Bros is thought to be extremely keen to establish a DCU cinematic universe, with the potential for spin-off movies for characters such as Wonder Woman, to compete with the massive success of Marvel Studios productions.

Warner Bros' previous attempt to bring the Justice League to the big screen, with Mad Max director George Miller and a cast including Armie Hammer as Batman and Megan Gale as Wonder Woman, came close to entering production before the 2007-8 Hollywood writers' strike and an escalating budget saw the studio put the project on hold, quietly scrapping it altogether in 2010.

 

Affleck/Damon to produce Sleeper movie

Variety reports Ben Affleck and Matt Damon will produce a movie adaptation of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' cult Wildstorm series Sleeper, set up at Warner Bros with TV writing duo Shawn Ryan and David Wiener attached to pen the screenplay. No director or cast are yet in place, with Affleck already attached to a number of directorial gigs in addition to his upcoming role as Batman in 2015's Superman/Batman. Ryan's credits including co-creating police procedurals The Shield and The Chicago Code, while Wiener was most recently a story editor on The Killing.

Published between 2003 and 2005 to enormous critical acclaim but dismal sales, Sleeper was among a number of titles revamping the Wildstorm universe for mature readers following the success of The Authority.

Marvel Studios developing Black Panther movie

During an interview at the Thor: The Dark World premiere press junket Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige confirmed the studio is actively developing a Black Panther feature as part of its 'Phase Three' of post-Avengers 2 films. Feige also hinted again at Doctor Strange featuring in Phase Three, while commenting that Edgar Wright's Ant-Man will be a heist film and casting should be announced by the end of the year.

 

James Robinson ruenites the Invaders; Ellen Page eyes Queen and Country movie

World War II superhero team the Invaders reunite this January in All-New Invaders, an ongoing series from James Robinson and Steve Pugh teaming Captain America with Namor, the android Human Torch and Captain America's military sidekick Bucky Barnes in his new identity of the Winter Soldier. Robinson, a fan-favourite and Eisner-winning writer from titles such as Starman, recently made an abrupt and high-profile departure from DC Comics.

Variety reports Canadian actress Ellen Page is in negotiations with Fox to play the lead role of British intelligence agent Tara Chase in a big-screen adaptation of Oni Press series Queen and Country. Page is set to reprise her role as Kitty Pryde in next year's X-Men: Days of Future Past, having previously appeared in X-Men 3, Inception, Juno and Hard Candy.

Penned by Greg Rucka and illustrated by a series of artists, Queen and Country garnered huge critical acclaim and multiple Eisner wins and nominations during its original run between 2001 and 2007. Both Rucka and Oni Press have indicated the series will return with a new volume during 2014.


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