Franchises, like Goonies, never say die, and Marvel is a company built on franchises. Now with their own film company, Marvel is bringing the complexity of their comic book universe to the silver screen. Here’s a look at some of their upcoming projects.
Arguably Marvel’s most popular title (and the flagship of an infinite number of X-book spin-offs), the X-Men have appeared thus far in three movies, and Wolverine just had his first solo outing. What’s next? There are a few possibilities:
X-Men: First Class - A film focusing on the younger members of the X-Men clan, namely Iceman, Rogue, Kitty Pryde, Angel, and Jubilee, as well as others, who get up to their own wacky high school adventures without Storm and Wolverine, two of the few surviving adults from the X-Men trilogy. The verdict? A possibility, but Shawn Ashmore and Anna Paquin are a little long in the tooth to play high school students, which may mean…
X-Men 4 - The long-rumored fourth entry into the main X-Men franchise may just be another version of First Class, since many of the first few films’ stars are not contractually obligated to appear, which means they can hold out for more money. But why pay the big bucks when you can just use other, younger, less expensive actors (like Paquin and Ashmore)?
Wolverine 2 - This is almost a sure thing, as talk of a sequel began even before the first Wolvy film opened, and despite being a critical flop, the film did okay in the numbers. Expect it to cover the samurai era of Logan’s past.
Deadpool - Ryan Reynolds is a hot ticket these days, and rumor is he’s been longing for a hero franchise of his own ever since playing second fiddle to Wesley Snipes in Blade: Trinity. But now that he’s scored the part of Green Lantern in the upcoming film, will two superhero franchises feel like overkill?
X-Men Origins: Magneto - Though it’s been in “development” for a long time now, not much progress has been made on this one. It’s not an easy task to design a prequel film focusing on a villain, so whether it will ever see the light of day is anyone’s guess.
Speaking of prequels about villains being a bad idea…
Untitled Blade Prequels - As if one film weren’t bad enough, actor Stephen Dorff, who played villain Deacon Frost in the first film, had this to say about an upcoming project:
“It will be a prequel to the ‘Blade’ movies, Deacon’s story. It’s a new trilogy the director [Stephen Norrington] has created. It will [be] cool.”
You read that correctly - not just one film, but a trilogy.
The extraordinarily well-received Iron Man was the first step towards a filmic tapestry leading up to The Avengers, as displayed by the final scene in which Tony Stark is approached by Nick Fury to speak with him about “the Avengers initiative,” and then Tony Stark’s cameo in The Incredible Hulk where he mentions a “team.” This sort of cross-pollination is enough to make even casual readers geek out, so here’s a look at what’s to come.
Iron Man 2 - Duh.
The First Avenger: Captain America - Though it has an unnecessary prefix, the Captain America movie was the first and most obvious choice when building a slew of films gearing up towards the Avengers. Shooting is set to begin next summer.
Thor - Shakespearean actor/director Kenneth Branagh is helming the epic fantasy about the mythical Norse god Odin. Super props to Marvel for not shying away from this utterly magical piece of the Avengers puzzle in the wake of the Dark Knight-inspired love for grittier, realistic superhero flicks.
And, of course:
The Avengers - The current expected premier date of The Avengers is May of 2012, which means they have to work fast with the other films if they want to make that goal.
Oh, yeah, they’re making Spider-Man 4. And 5 and 6. These could really go either way. I’m hoping they’re like the first 2 and not the unwatchable Spider-Man 3.