Movie News Bits: Marvel Studios, FAILSAFE, BOLIVAR, Joss Whedon, X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE

Welcome to the latest installment of Movie News Bits. Today, we’re talking about a potential new Marvel director, two new comic book movies in development, Joss Whedon’s reaction to his Wonder Woman script backlash, and casting that nearly happened for X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

While many of Marvel’s plans post-Avengers 4 are currently under wraps, we’ve had some teases on what to expect. Could one of those be a movie by filmmaker Ben Wheatley (Free Fire)?

On the Adam Buxton Podcast (via CBM), actor Bob Mortimer talked about a project that he was going to do with Wheatley, but says that it’s now on the backburner. Why? Well, Wheatley has apparently been offered a “big” Marvel movie, which could be his next project.

There’s currently no idea what movie this is, or even if this is Marvel Studios. (It could just as easily be a Fox or Sony project.) Either way, if Wheatley is doing a comic book movie, it shouldn’t be too long before they announced what it is.

Netflix has been on a roll with original movies, and its latest acquisition is a comic book adaptation. According to Deadline, the streaming platform has picked up Vault Comics adaptation Failsafe. Black Panther scribe Joe Robert Cole is writing, with Michael B. Jordan producing. Depending on how the script turns out, Jordan could star in it too.

Failsafe focuses on John Ravane, who is “…a legendary insurgent hunter who thought he had executed the last nanotech-enhanced super soldier, in a personal battle that included the kidnap of his daughter. A decade later, it becomes clear that sleeper agents scattered around the country are activating, in an attempt to take over New York, and the government leader who pressed him into duty last time has been exposed as corrupt.”

Another comic book movie that has entered development is Bolivar, based on the Boom! Studios/Archaia title. According to Deadline, 20th Century Fox has picked up the title, which will be produced by Shawn Levy and Dan Levine. No writer or director is attached yet.

Bolivar focuses on a little girl who discovers that her next-door neighbor is the world’s last living dinosaur. The graphic novel was published last fall, and it received an Eiser nomination for Best Children’s Comic.

Long before Wonder Woman came out to massive success, Joss Whedon tried to bring the DC heroine to the big screen. He wrote his script with an eye to direct, but it never happened. Most recently, excerpts from the script leaked online to plenty of backlash, questioning Whedon’s portrayal of Diana.

Well, Whedon still stands by the script. Speaking with Variety at the Avengers: Infinity War premiere (via ComicBook), Whedon says that he doesn’t get why there was any backlash. “I don’t know which parts people didn’t like, but I went and re-read after I heard there was a backlash. I think it’s great.” He also maintains that the script was “woke” enough…whatever that means.

Despite the script not moving forward, Whedon did get to work with Wonder Woman on the Justice League reshoots. And after his portrayal of her there, it’s no wonder that he was dropped from Batgirl

Our last news bit revolves around an interesting “what could’ve been” casting. Speaking with Digital Spy, Lost star Josh Holloway reveals that he was actually cast as Gambit for X-Men Origins: Wolverine. “I actually screen-tested with Hugh Jackman. It was amazing – they said, ‘You’re it, you’re the guy, you’re Gambit!’ and they shook my hand.” He even went on to learn card tricks for the role.

So, what happened? According to Holloway, a studio head intervened, saying that Gambit should be played by a younger actor. (Holloway was 40 at the time.) The film later cast Taylor Kitsch, 28, as the character. Holloway also admits that his Cajun accent is “terrible.”

That was the only time Gambit was ever in a movie. For years, Channing Tatum has been attached to play the character in a solo movie, but it has infamously been in development hell. Despite being scheduled to release next year, the film has lost several directors. So, we’ll see.

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of WOBAM! Entertainment.

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