Moviegoers have gotten to know Iron Man and Captain America in Marvel Studios superhero movies in the past five years. Soon they'll meet Ant-Man and Rocket Raccoon.
Marvel films' "Phase One" ended with The Avengers this summer, according to studio head Kevin Feige. Now comes Phase Two, a slate of four movies in development:
- Iron Man 3, now filming in Wilmington, N.C., is due out May 3, 2013, with Robert Downey Jr. back as Tony Stark and Don Cheadle as James "Rhodey" Rhodes, adding Ben Kingsley as the villainous Mandarin.
- The sequel Thor: The Dark World, scheduled for Nov. 8, 2013, again stars Chris Hemsworth as the thunder god, and adds director Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones) and Chuck's Zachary Levi as Fandral of the Warriors Three.
- Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo (You, Me and Dupree) and due April 4, 2014, Captain America: The Winter Soldier tosses WWII super-soldier Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) into present day.
- And things get cosmic with Guardians of the Galaxy, due Aug. 1, 2014. Concept art showed the super-team of Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Groot and pistol-packing Rocket Raccoon. (It wouldn't be surprising to see Thanos, the purple guy at the end of The Avengers, pop up here to possibly lead into an Avengers sequel.) -- BT
Off to film the Wizard
Director Sam Raimi (Spider-Man, The Evil Dead) introduced Oz the Great and Powerful, the Wizard prequel that opens in March 2013, by unveiling the first trailer. Mixing black-and-white with stunning color, the movie follows an average Kansas circus magician (James Franco) who aims to be great, though he's not quite the Wonderful Wizard at the start. One day in a hot-air balloon, a twister gets hold, and he's hurled into the vibrant land of Oz, where he meets a bunch of witches -- including the sweet and naïve Theodora (Mila Kunis) and Glinda (Michelle Williams) -- and the populace anxiously awaits the coming of a great wizard. "It's who the wizard was and how he became the wizard we know," Raimi said. "He's a lothario and cad at first. By the time he gets to Oz, it's like a land of second chances for him." -- BT
Red cape, blue tights, just 'awesome'
Superman is the "king daddy" of all superheroes, and to Man of Steel director Zack Snyder, he is, in a word, awesome. "Superman's pretty awesome, as you know," Snyder told a packed panel for the movie due June 14. "Superman's a big responsibility, but Superman needed to be reintroduced to a new generation. I thought this was a good chance to do something awesome. And we're doing awesomely, I think."
After tackling the hero-deconstructing Watchmen, Snyder goes the other way here, as Henry Cavill dons the red cape. The first teaser will be attached to The Dark Knight Rises Friday, and the footage shows a Superman misunderstood by the world around him, even having him shackled in one scene. "What would you do if you were Superman? That's what we went after," Snyder said. "In the past, Superman's been this big blue boy scout on a throne. We try to make him so he could beat the (stuffing) out of people." -- BT
Sun sets on 'Twilight'
Twilight stars Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner and Robert Pattinson ended their string of annual appearances with a last hurrah, for Breaking Dawn -- Part 2, out Nov. 16 They didn't leave anybody at home, as a slew of actors joined author Stephenie Meyer on stage. "It's kind of a bummer to walk away, but I'll hold it," said Stewart. Bella's now a vampire, changed by husband Edward (Pattinson) at the end of the last movie to save her during the birth of their daughter. "She's always been this perfect, awkward, clumsy, relatable girl. And now she's transformed herself in this sleek, sexy vampire," said Lautner, who plays werewolf Jacob. Added Stewart on vampy Bella: "She's like a sports car. Let's break her in." -- BT