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  • Why a Wonder Woman Movie Is Next

    Wonder Woman (image credit - MoviePilot.com)

    So, Dwayne Johnson tweeted that he’ll play Black Adam in the Shazam! movie for DC.  That movie even has someone working on a script.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt is writing a script for the Sandman movie with the original creator Neil GaimanAquaman, which may or may not have Jason Momoa attached as the lead, actually has as many scripts being written for it as the other two movies.  And, if website registration is at all a credible clue, then we can read quite a bit into this recent bit of Internet sleuthing.  There’s lots of speculation about what the next six years of comic book movies will be like, especially at Warner Bros., and we’ve certainly done our share of it; but I have a theory about which DC movie is next:  Wonder Woman.


    When the announcement was made last year that Israeli actress and soldier Gal Gadot would play Princess Diana in her first live-action big screen outing, the considered opinion of the Internet was that she was…problematic for the role.  Opinion hasn’t swayed all that much in her favor in the months since, although plenty have risen to her defense, including myself.  If I’m right, though, then 2016 will give her two opportunities to prove herself.  Two DC movies are slated for 2016:  Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice on March 25, and an as-yet-untitled movie set for August 5.  Here’s why I believe that second slot is reserved for Wonder Woman:


  • The Next Six Years of Comic Book Movies

    JusticeLeagueVsAvengers (image credit - comicbookmovie.com)


    We’ve received a lot of information over the last few weeks about the future of movies based on comic books.  Marvel, Warner Bros., Fox, Sony, and even Paramount have collectively announced over thirty release dates devoted exclusively to comic book properties between now and the summer of 2020.  While only a third of these dates have announced titles attached to them, it still means we can expect up to nine comic book movies a year.


    Believe it or not, that’s not too much more than we’ve had in the past.  While people don’t automatically think “comic book movie” when they hear about Road to Perdition or 300 or RED, those do technically count, as did The Losers, Kick-Ass, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.  I don’t think people need to worry too much about being “comic booked out”.  And Warner Bros., while historically a little slow in producing DC properties, has certainly packed numerous blockbusters into the same calendar year before.  Now that they’re (nearly) finished with the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings/Hobbit franchises, they’re free to devote more attention, talent, and resources to their long-neglected graphic novel-inspired wellspring.


    Let’s take a look at the road ahead.  First, we’ll lay out the schedule of coming attractions, and then we’ll hit on some of the highlights:


  • DC Movies: The Brave and the Bold

    Last year at San Diego Comic-Con, Zack Snyder and David Goyer virtually won the weekend when they announced the sequel to Man of Steel would be a team up (or showdown) of Batman and Superman.  Now, if last week’s post on veteran entertainment reporter Nikki Finke’s new website is to be believed, it seems DC and Warner Bros. are all set to own the Internet itself.  The report gives us information not only on the upcoming Justice League movie, but on a full seven DC films from May 2016 to May 2018.  Seven is as many movies as DC has produced in the last six years, and far fewer than Marvel has produced in the same amount of time.  It seems, what with The Hobbit, Harry Potter, and various other franchises all but exhausted, that Warner Bros. is ready to get serious about their untapped wellspring of comic book characters.


    justice-league-warner-bros-feature (image credit - hypable.com)


    Before I write any more, I just want to say, I hate phrases like “rumor has it”, “if you believe it”, and especially “take it with a grain of salt”.  For the purposes of this article, we’re just going to assume everything Ms. Finke’s source told her is DC’s actual planned announcement for Comic-Con; also one or two other “reports” that have emerged over the weekend.  Beyond that, I obviously have some speculating of my own I’ll be including.  If you can’t handle speculation, then what follows is not the article for you.


  • The New Lex Luthor


    After Zack Snyder practically broke the fandom when he announced Superman and Batman would team up (or face off) in the Man of Steel sequel, he broke it again when he announced Ben Affleck would play Batman.  And then, he broke it again when he revealed a relatively unknown Israeli actress named Gal Gadot would be Wonder Woman.  Snyder continued his streak this week when it was revealed that Lex Luthor, the greatest criminal mind of our time, would not be played by Denzel Washington, or Mark Strong, or Joaquin Phoenix, or Bryan Cranston; but by Jesse Eisenberg.


  • Man of Steel 2 (According to Fourth-day)


    So, the sequel to last summer’s Man of Steel will feature more heroes than just Batman and Superman.  Israeli actress Gal Gadot will play Wonder Woman, the Flash has been confirmed for some sort of role, and Game of Thrones‘ Jason Momoa is rumored to be considered for the Martian Manhunter (more on that later).  Now, everyone is just holding their breath to see if the long-concealed title will finally be revealed as Justice League.


    It’s important to keep in mind, at Comic-Con last July, screenwriter David Goyer indicated the film would be a “vs.” movie, titled either “Batman vs. Superman” or “Superman vs. Batman”.  It’s also important to remember, though, that director Zack Snyder has deliberately misinformed people about his films before to keep us all guessing.  Will Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill actually be fighting each other, a la The Dark Knight Returns?  Will they join forces to take down Lex Luthor and/or some other supervillain?  Will this finally be the lead in to the long-awaited Justice League movie?  Or is this just some romantic comedy where they both hit on Wonder Woman for two and a half hours?  (Full disclosure, I think I’d actually pay to see that last one.  They should have a scene like that as a DVD extra.)


  • Building an Expanded Movie Universe (Without the Marvel Method)


    Marvel Studios dominates when it comes to comic book movie universe-building.  There’s really no arguing that point.  What started as an experiment with a couple of after-credits scenes in 2008′s Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk has, in just a few short years, blossomed into a massive movie, television, and online media enterprise that has the potential to crush the competition for the next decade.


  • The New Wonder Woman

    Man of Steel‘s sequel will be notable for many ‘firsts’.  It will be the first live-action DC movie to feature more than one superhero (unless my secret wish about Laurence Fishburne’s Perry White role being a front for the Martian Manhunter is revealed to be true).  It will be the first time Batman and Superman have shared screen time outside the cartoons.  And it will be the first time Wonder Woman has been on the big screen.


    Director Zack Snyder told Variety magazine this week that Israeli actress Gal Gadot has been cast as the Amazon to star alongside Henry Cavill as Superman and Ben Affleck as Batman.  These three are the most famous heroes DC has, and their presence together in one movie is, if anything, even more of a shock than having Batman and Superman together.  What exactly her role will be is undetermined, but I’ll tackle that more in my “Man of Steel 2 (according to Fourth-day)” article next week.


    For this article, I just want to talk about why I feel Gal Gadot makes a fantastic choice to play Wonder Woman.  There’s been a certain amount of backlash to the casting decision, along with some (cautious) optimism; much like there was when Affleck’s casting was announced.  As then, I’m going with unreserved approval of Snyder’s decision.  Yes, I’ve had my own choices in mind to play Princess Diana for many years now, and I still believe they’d do well in the role; but that doesn’t mean Gal Gadot won’t.


    I think she can take care of herself.

    First, she’s 5’9″ (1.75 m) tall, which makes her at least as tall as any of the other fan favorites for the role, including Gina Carano, Jaimie Alexander, and Bridget Regan.  Though she’s been criticized for being “too thin”, she’s following a director who is famous for getting his cast “beefed up” for his films.  Also, in addition to being an actress and former Miss Israel, she spent two years in the Israeli Defense Forces, which makes her an actual warrior in addition to being an action star.  She’ll be able to hold her own next to the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight.


    There’s a question about how well she’ll perform on the screen, given her razor-thin acting résumé.  Aside from the Fast and the Furious franchise, she hasn’t had that many opportunities to shine on the screen.  But, unknown actors have become iconic before, as the Superman franchise itself can attest.  And Snyder is the only person who knows exactly what he wants from this next movie, so only he can say whether or not Miss Gadot can bring it.  In his own words:


    “Not only is Gal an amazing actress, but she also has that magical quality that makes her perfect for the role.  We look forward to audiences discovering Gal in the first feature film incarnation of this beloved character.”


    Snyder’s done an excellent job of casting superhero movies before, and he knows how to create strong characters who also happen to be female.  And having an Israeli actress playing the Amazon Princess adds a touch of exotic diversity to the role, which fans have been calling for.  Whatever they have in store, for Wonder Woman, for Man of Steel 2, and for the Justice League itself, I have no doubt that, together, they’ll make this movie wonderful.


    Keep your eyes on us for more ideas about what, exactly, may be in store for us in the future of feature films.  And don’t forget to purchase Stephen Monteith’s original fiction at Lulu.com.

  • Justice League Movie Plot and Cast (According to Fourth-day)

    So, last week, SheKnows Entertainment posted a potential roster for the Justice League movie.  Speculation for which heroes would appear in the movie is almost as hot as which actors would take on the roles.  Well, in this article, we’re going to address both.


    As most of you may know, even the Justice League’s core roster has gone through several changes over the decades, most recently during the “New 52″ comic continuity reboot.  Some things we can take for granted about the final list, though.  It’s been fairly well decided, for example, that seven is the number of team mates at the inception.  Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are all certain to be in the film, of course.  Here is the full list of DC superheroes we can (probably) expect to see:


  • There Should Only Be Greeks

    For this month’s Genre spotlight, it’s Greek mythology.  Yes, we’re focusing on Greek mythology as a genre.  Not Greek, Roman, Norse, and all other mythologies; not Greek mythology as a cultural and/or historical force; just Greek mythology as a genre.  Why, you may ask?  And how can we call it a genre?  The answer to each question is in the other.  Greek mythology has much to offer the world in terms of cultural influence and insight into the human heart.  Beyond that, the tales themselves are quite entertaining, with some of the greatest literary characters (and caricatures) finding their roots in them.  Zeus, the great King of the Gods, led his fellow Olympians to victory against their predecessors, the Titans, and began a new era of rule over humanity.  Hades, his brother, ruled the Underworld and all the souls and creatures therein.  Poseidon ruled the seas.  And a pantheon of others ruled with them on Mount Olympus and the realms of the mortals below.


    Now, a genre is a hard thing to define.  Some think it’s confined to the big five:  Romance, Mystery, Horror, Sci-fi/Fantasy, and Westerns.  Others look farther back and think of genres as either Comedies, Tragedies, Epics, or Parodies.  I tend to think of a genre as any story that embraces both certain themes and certain settings/physical elements.  So, while you may be writing a story about someone with great power who needs to learn great responsibility, the tiebreaker between a superhero story and a Greek mythological tale will be whether the main character spends time with superpowered mutants or Olympic gods.  Although, in the case of Wonder Woman, they may associate with both.


    That’s another reason we’re looking at this particular genre:  its ease of use, you might say, in modern times as well as classical.  Most of you, I’m sure, can name at least one movie, comic book, novel, television show, and/or video game that features a character from Greek mythology.  For those who may need some help, here are a few of the more popular examples from each:


  • Justice League Movie–A Preliminary Treatment

    And things were going so well, too.

    Sure, things have been a little slow for DC Comics lately (compared to Marvel, at least).  With Jonah Hex being the latest in low-tier heroes to bomb at the box office, and with only Green Lantern taking to the screens against three Marvel powerhouses, namely Thor, X-Men: First Class, and Captain America: the First Avenger, it’s only natural to want to kick things into high gear.  And, with The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man set to hit theaters in 2012 (not to mention Iron Man 3 at some point), it’s only natural to assume that DC would want to roll out its big guns for the return salvo.  Hence, the long-awaited Justice League movie.  Jeff Robinov, president of the Warner Bros. motion picture group, has revealed that, not only will the Batman character not lie dormant once Christopher Nolan’s trilogy has finished its run, but he’ll be essentially rebooted for inclusion in a Justice League film.  Having spent the last few years fighting production delays including, interestingly, the success of Nolan’s Batman that would have conflicted with a JL-movie Batman (we’ll get to that in a minute), WB is apparently ready to proceed with their answer to the Avengers initiative.

    It’s exciting, to be sure; but isn’t this all a little … too soon?  I mean, it’s not as if DC doesn’t have plenty of characters to tackle in its pantheon of heroes.  A Green Lantern sequel has already been greenlit, so to speak, and the Flash and Wonder Woman movies, as Robinov tells us, are both in development.  While it’s heartening to learn that a WW movie will proceed independent of David E. Kelley’s TV pilot, shouldn’t the JL movie wait until a few more characters are “ready” for it?  We don’t even have any word on the Aquaman movie yet.

    Not that DC hasn’t done a fine job of introducing its heroes to us.  No one, I think, needs a reminder of just who Superman or Batman (or Wonder Woman) are.  The Flash and Green Lantern aren’t as popular, perhaps, but as long as their movies both come out before the JL movie does, I think they’ll be fine.  And, of course, the animated series has introduced us to far more than just the core heroes.  Even people who’ve never read the comics should be somewhat familiar with who the Justice League is, even without introducing them one at a time the way Marvel is doing with the Avengers.  Still, it would be nice to know that each character will receive his or her due with solo films.

    On the other hand, maybe DC figures this is the best way to lead into solo films for certain characters.  Why worry about whether anyone will care about a Martian Manhunter movie if they already loved him in the Justice League movie?  The same is likely true with Hawkman and the Atom, I suppose.  It’s a more cautious approach than Marvel’s of giving Iron Man and Thor their introductory films prior to the Avengers, but it may actually be wiser.  The only problem is, with a film this large and with so much riding on its success, including all those solo films, DC (and Warner Bros.) had better pray it can at least match Marvel’s success.  Historically, that hasn’t always been the case.

    Personally, I feel DC should have waited a little longer; they certainly should have waited longer to make an announcement like this.  With all the casting and production announcements for the Superman and Batman movies, Marvel has actually had to fight for its share of hype for next year.  Speculation on how to “reboot” Batman after The Dark Knight Rises had already begun (of course), but now it’ll be short-circuited a bit since we know it will be as part of a team-up movie.  The announcement that an independent Wonder Woman film is in development would have been enough to keep fanboys like myself in suspense for a decent length of time, especially in conjunction with more Flash movie news.  Moreover, until we know more about how Green Lantern will do in his solo film, pairing him up with even more obscure characters is a risky proposition.  That goes double for our new Superman, as Henry Cavill will likely be tapped to play the leader of the group.

    Giving each hero his or her own movie first allows them to define themselves independent of the group.  While the Justice League cartoon series allowed each character their own time in the spotlight, it was a TV series; they could afford a more leisurely pace to introduce the individuals.  Characters such as Hawkman and Wonder Woman, who have … shall we say intricate mythologies in the DC comics could find it difficult to establish themselves while working alongside better-known characters, like Batman and Superman; or even alongside lesser-known characters, like the Martian Manhunter, who will be trying just as hard to earn their spot on the screen.

    I posted late last year about the timeline I’d follow for releasing movies based on the DC heroes.  It was based on the assumption that most heroes would have their movies produced first, leading up to a Justice League movie (two actually).  It also supposed that the Superman movie would be a trilogy of movies, followed by a “Trinity” movie with Batman and Wonder Woman, which was to be the lead-in for a JL movie.  Sheer stubbornness (I suppose) will be what keeps the “According to Fourth-day” continuity for such a plan intact.  However, just this once, I’m going to write a short treatment for the Justice League movie that comes before the solo movies.

    First, it would need a bit of an origin story for all involved.  Yes, for all of them, including Batman (we’re “rebooting” him, remember?).  Personally, I don’t see Batman as much of a Justice League member.  He formed the Outsiders as a sort of dark shadow of the Justice League, and in the cartoon series he called himself a “part-timer” in the League.  In fact, leaving him out of the movie would have been one way to address the potential problems inherent with having a JL Batman onscreen at the same time as Nolan’s Batman, who lives outside of DC’s continuity anyway (if they even have a “continuity” at this point in time, though some have suggested the Flash movie shares continuity with Green Lantern).  Still, if Batman’s going to be rebooted as a joiner, then he’ll need an introduction of sorts to the team.

    Actually, everyone will; that’s not the main issue.  The issue is, what will bring them together?  It’s simple, really:  an alien invasion (it is still, technically, Alien Invasion Month here at Fourth-day, after all).  We have on our team an intergalactic cop (Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern) tasked with protecting this sector of the galaxy.  We also have J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter, who acts as a sort of hybrid cop/bounty hunter.  Either one could detect an alien menace threatening the Earth and work to gather its greatest heroes to fight the threat.  And there are no shortages of alien threats to the Earth.

    In an earlier post, I essentially said the problem with nearly all alien invasion movies is the Earthlings don’t have a chance except in the fevered minds of people like M. Night Shyamalan who imagine that aliens are fatally allergic to water (or something like that).  Well, this is one alien invasion movie that doesn’t have to worry about matching Earth forces with the invaders; some of Earth’s greatest heroes happen to be aliens, and have no doubt been providing at least a peek at their technology to our scientists.  While Hal Jordan might not relinquish his ring to Amanda Waller to study, there’s nothing to stop Superman from going to S.T.A.R. Labs with his spacecraft in the hopes of learning more about his heritage.  And who knows what J’onn J’onzz will be willing to do to protect his new home from suffering global genocide like his planet of Mars did so many years ago?

    Now, let’s talk about Wonder Woman and the Amazons.  What better way (other than the one we already suggested) to reintroduce a warrior race to the world they left so long ago than to appoint a champion to liaise with “man’s world” to defend against invaders who threaten all our safety?  Yes, Princess Diana’s “origin story” could be as one chosen to help protect the Earth with weapons and armor forged by the Gods themselves.  Steve Trevor, and, of course, her fellow Amazons, could all be introduced through the war effort.

    And then there’s Aquaman.  While Superman and Wonder Woman patrol the skies, Batman and the Flash cover the ground, and Green Lantern and the Martian Manhunter are in outer space, Aquaman can do what he does best:  protect the seventy percent of Earth that we humans rarely consider.  How better to establish himself as one of Earth’s greatest heroes?  (And, if aliens really are allergic to water, then who better to have at your side?)

    This is actually kind of fascinating.  I can see a massive mobilization effort in the works with this one; in fact, I can see a two-parter.  The only thing left is to pick a villain; one worthy of bringing together the fabled Justice League and lead us into a new era of DC filmmaking.  Who gets to be the lucky alien?  Darkseid?  Even though this post isn’t officially part of AtFd continuity, I’d still like to save him for the Superman trilogy I proposed.  The Starro creature that brought the original Justice League together?  Honestly, I never much cared for it.  Plus, it’s probably too obscure for mainstream audiences to get excited about it; and that goes for Imperiex, as well.  No, I think it’s time to bring in the one hyperintelligent, intergalactic menace who’s threatened Superman and Earth in just about every medium and incarnation to date except in film:  Brainiac.

    That’s about all I’ll post here.  I’m sure DC has plenty of ideas for the movie it no doubt hopes will be its most successful venture to date; and I certainly have more in store for when I write the official “Justice League According to Fourth-day” article (after I’ve written all the others).  For now, let me just say that I hope Warner Bros. and DC take this project far more seriously than they’ve taken some.  And I hope they realize, as Christopher Nolan did, that it’s no sin to adhere to the comics even as you adapt them for a new story.

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