James Gunn: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3 to “set up the next 10-20 years of Marvel”!

The folks at Marvel Studios have made a pretty big to-do about the fact that AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR and AVENGERS 4 will be the “culmination” of the vision they imagined for the MCU when they launched the game-changing shared universe nearly ten years ago. So what comes next? Aside from the sequel to SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING which will pick up minutes after AVENGERS 4, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3 holds some of the answers, it seems.

GUARDIANS helmer James Gunn dropped in on Facebook Live today to promote the home video release of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2, and in true Gunnsian fashion, he opened up the floor to some fan questions. Gunn reiterated some stuff we’ve heard before — it’s not teenage Groot, it’s adolescent Groot, and a few new tidbits — Yondu will communicate with Peter through the music on his Zune the way Meredith did with her cassette tapes. But the big info popped up at the very end of the Q&A when a fan asked if they ever consider putting Richard Rider, aka Nova, in future MCU films.

Here’s what Gunn said,

“Yes, definitely. Nova comes up occasionally as someone we might use. One of the things I’m doing with creating Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, it will take place after the next wo Avengers movies and it will help to set up the next 10, 20 years of Marvel movies. It’s going to really expand the cosmic universe. We’re going to be setting up new characters. It will be the last movie of this version of Guardians of the Galaxy.”

No release date is currently set for GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3, but Gunn previously hinted at a 2020 release, telling fans “I’ll continue being here with you over the next three years as we create Vol. 3,” in a Facebook post earlier this year. And this sounds an awful lot like VOL. 3 will set up the new incarnation of the Marvel universe after AVENGERS 4 closes the chapter on the first three phases. And it’s a move that makes sense from Marvel’s point of view. Gunn pioneered the way into the cosmic universe with GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY and he’s proven himself a deft screenwriter who can play by the Marvel rules while bringing something new and unexpected to the table.

WB developing 80’s-set JOKER origin film with Scorsese & Phillips, sans DCEU and Leto

Big, bad news out of DC land. Deadline reports that Warner Bros. and DC Films are in the early stages of developing new JOKER origin story as their latest expansion of the ‘Batman universe’ and they’ve brought some heavy-hitters aboard including Martin Scorsese. THE HANGOVER and WAR DOGS helmer Todd Phillips is set to direct and co-write the script with THE FIGHTER screenwriter Scott Silver. Scorsese will produce with Phillips.

The film is intended to launch a yet-to-be-named new banner at Warner Bros., which will expand the universe of DC films outside the DCEU to “create new storylines with different actors playing the beloved characters”. The JOKER origin story is said to be separate from the previous film incarnations, which means Jared Leto will not take on the role for this iteration of the character. Per the report, he’s set to reprise the role in the SUICIDE SQUAD sequel and the GOTHAM CITY SIRENS spinoff, but the origin story will see a new, possibly younger actor take on the role of the iconic comic book villain. This a perfect example of the “prequel mistake”: assuming audiences want to see the tragic backstories of the characters, especially classic villains. No one wants to see Darth Vader as a whiny child, and no one wants the ‘multiple choice’ question of Joker’s origin answered.

And it gets worse. Per the report, “The intention is to make a gritty and grounded hard-boiled crime film set in early-’80s Gotham City that isn’t meant to feel like a DC movie as much as one of Scorsese’s films from that era, like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull or The King Of Comedy.” Phillips and Silver have already started writing the script, but there’s no word on how this new incarnation and the new film banner will fit in with the existing DC schedule. Perhaps WB/DC should get more than one good movie (ahem, WONDER WOMAN) into establishing their interconnected DC Extended Universe before making more, even more confusing spin-off universes.

New BLADE RUNNER 2049 TV spot has explosive new footage, film due October 6, 2017!

We’re a little over a month out from the debut of BLADE RUNNER 2049 and this new international TV spot (a trailer, really) now gives us a clearer picture of just what’s going on in this plot. Previously, we knew that Ryan Gosling stars as the new Blade Runner, LAPD Officer K, whose quest leads him on a search to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford). Now, however, it’s clear that Jared Leto‘s villainous Niander Wallace not only has an army of Replicants in the making but also the rest of the “guns” of the law enforcement division under his swayminus K. Well now, that’s much more exciting, thank you!

Director Denis Villeneuve reteams with frequent cinematographer Roger Deakins for the sci-fi story with Ridley Scott as executive producer; BLADE RUNNER scribe Hampton Fancher and Michael Green penned the screenplay for the sequel. The film also stars Robin Wright, Barkhad Abdi, Dave Bautista, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Lennie James, and Mackenzie Davis. BLADE RUNNER 2049 opens in theaters on October 6th.

‘Stranger Things’ director Rebecca Thomas to helm sci-fi film INTELLIGENT LIFE!

Amblin’s sci-fi film INTELLIGENT LIFE has landed a new director. THR reports that Rebecca Thomas (‘Stranger Things’) will direct the upcoming sci-fi film, which “centers on a United Nations employee who monitors outer space and makes contact with a beautiful woman who may be an alien.” JURASSIC WORLD duo Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connelly wrote the original script, but Thomas will do some additional writing on the screenplay.

Ava DuVernay (SELMA) was previously attached to direct back in February 2016 with Luptia Nyong’o on board to star, but they both left the project with DuVernay going off to helm A WRINKLE IN TIME and now moving on to a limited series about the Central Park Five. Nyongo’o has also left, but presumably the material will woo other talented actors to come on board. After DuVernay left, the studio brought on Jay Roach to do some rewrites.

Thomas’ star has been rising fast these past few years. She made her feature debut with the indie ELECTRICK CHILDREN and has since signed onto a live-action THE LITTLE MERMAID for Universal and adapting the John Green book LOOKING FOR ALASKA. “Rebecca beautifully captured the alienation we often feel amongst our fellow humans in her first feature. We can’t wait to see her explore those themes further in a story about our place in the universe,” said a statement from Trevorrow and producer Frank Marshall.

There’s no word yet on when INTELLIGENT LIFE might go in front of cameras. Presumably, the studio will keep the project in development until they’re happy with the script, and it’s possible that Thomas could move forward with THE LITTLE MERMAID or LOOKING FOR ALASKA first. Thomas’ episode of ‘Stranger Things’, “The Secret Cabin”, will debut with Season 2, which premieres on Netflix on October 27th.

JASON BOURNE’s Paul Greengrass to tackle 2011 Norway terror attacks in Netflix film

Netflix picked up the rights to Paul Greengrass’ next film, which will focus on a 2011 terrorist attack in Norway that killed 77 people.

Per Deadline, “The horrific violence was inflicted by Anders Behring Breivik, a self described right-wing Christian extremist with a hatred for Muslims. He started the carnage by detonating a fertilizer bomb outside the headquarters of the prime minister that killed eight people. After that, Breivik dressed in a police uniform, took a short ferry ride to Utoya Island outside of Oslo, and methodically murdered teens attending a Labor Party Youth Camp as they tried to escape. The madman, who wrote a 1500 page manifesto critical of Muslim immigration and European liberalism that he was not permitted to read at trial, was sentenced to 21 years. That was the maximum possible sentence in a country that doesn’t have the death penalty.”

Greengrass has showed time and again he’s capable of taking disturbing real-life events and transforming them into compelling movies without ever feeling exploitative. While Greengrass is also attached to an adaptation of the graphic novel TORSO and MEMPHIS, which is about the manhunt for Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassin, it looks like this Norwegian film will shoot first. Deadline reports, “the film will be shot in Norway at a $20 million budget with local actors. Prep will begin this week for a fall shoot.”

With a movie like this, where it’s incredibly topical (a right-wing terrorist), and you can get people out to the theater with “From the Director of UNITED 93 and CAPTAIN PHILLIPS”, a Netflix premiere can feel like a waste. It’s just absorbed into the content stream where it will sit alongside acclaimed Sundance premiere I DON’T FEEL AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE and acclaimed Cannes premiere OKJA, and you will still be wondering when’s a good time to watch any of them.

New synopsis for M. Night Shyamalan’s GLASS talks UNBREAKABLE and SPLIT connections!

Universal Pictures has released the first official synopsis for GLASS as pre-production on the highly anticipated sequel is firmly underway. The film is a follow-up to filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan’s terrific 2000 film UNBREAKABLE and its secret sequel SPLIT, which hit theaters this past January and quickly became a massive box office and critical success.

While fans had been clamoring for an Unbreakable sequel for years, the final moments of Shyamalan’s seemingly original psychological thriller SPLIT revealed that the entire film was taking place in the same universe as UNBREAKABLE—the final shot found Bruce Willis’ unbreakable David Dunn watching a television news report about the exploits of James McAvoy’s The Beast.

McAvoy reprises his role in GLASS as does Split star Anya Taylor-Joy, and they’re joined by UNBREAKABLE’s Willis and Samuel L. Jackson as well as franchise newcomer Sarah Paulson. But if you thought GLASS might be kicking off a new series of films, the below synopsis describes this chapter with quite a bit of finality:

From Unbreakable, Bruce Willis returns as David Dunn as does Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price, known also by his pseudonym Mr. Glass. Joining from Split are James McAvoy, reprising his role as Kevin Wendell Crumb and the multiple identities who reside within, and Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke, the only captive to survive an encounter with The Beast.

Following the conclusion of Split, Glass finds Dunn pursuing Crumb’s superhuman figure of The Beast in a series of escalating encounters, while the shadowy presence of Price emerges as an orchestrator who holds secrets critical to both men.

This riveting culmination of his worldwide blockbusters will be produced by Shyamalan and Jason Blum, who also produced the writer/director’s previous two films for Universal. They produce again with Ashwin Rajan and Marc Bienstock, and Steven Schneider, who will executive produce.

Filming on GLASS begins next month, but the Universal and Blumhouse production isn’t scheduled to hit theaters until January 18, 2019, so we’ve got quite a long wait ahead of us. Although SPLIT came a full 16 years after Unbreakable, so a year and a half should be no sweat for those that have been eagerly anticipating the continued adventures of David Dunn and Elijah Price.

AVENGERS 4 set photos reveal a Japanese adventure for our heroes, film due May 3, 2019!

While AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR only just wrapped filming last month, production is already underway on the follow-up AVENGERS 4, and some new set photos have arrived showing off a tantalizing set. While directors Joe and Anthony Russo initially intended to shoot INFINTY WAR and the untitled fourth AVENGERS movie at the same time, schedule-wise it became too difficult to manage (not to mention the fact that they want both movies to look distinct), so they and Marvel Studios opted instead to shoot the films back-to-back.

The bulk of INFINTY WAR was shot from January of this year to July, with Joe Russo revealing to us that there are still a couple of INFINITY WAR scenes to be shot during production for AVENGERS 4. This fourth AVENGERS movie, together with INFINTY WAR, is the “culmination” of the entire MCU we’ve seen previously, which explains the massive cast. We haven’t yet gotten confirmation of just who, exactly, is in AVENGERS 4, but we do know that Evangeline Lilly’s ANT-MAN character is poised to appear, and there’s a pretty safe bet that Brie Larson’s CAPTAIN MARVEL shows up in AVENGERS 4 as well.

Schedule-wise these inclusions make sense. ANT-MAN AND THE WASP is now filming in Atlanta on the same backlot as AVENGERS 4, so Lilly can shoot her scenes easily. And CAPTAIN MARVEL is poised to start filming in early 2018, so Larson will either don the uniform early and shoot an AVENGERS 4 cameo or production of both films will overlap. Or maybe she’s not in it after all.

While we know next to nothing about the plot of AVENGERS 4 at the moment, these set photos from Atlanta reveal that some portion of the film will take place in Japan. Globe-trotting was a staple of AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, which shot partially in Seoul, South Korea, so it’ll be interesting to see how Japan factors into the plot of AVENGERS 4. These massive moves aren’t made solely for North American audiences, and indeed the finale of DOCTOR STRANGE took place in Hong Kong, so the inclusion of Asian territories on the screen not only expands the visual palate but also makes the films themselves more intriguing for international audiences.

Check out the AVENGERS 4 set photos below (via CS). The film opens in theaters on May 3, 2019.