First Report: Production Updates on ‘Fantastic Four’, ‘The Batman Part II’, ‘Mandalorian & Grogru’; ‘Thunderbolts’ Cast Additions; ‘Captain America: Brave New World’ Reshoots, and More!
Welcome to the first issue of TheTrailBlazer, with new production tidbits for upcoming Marvel, DC, and 'Star Wars' projects, plus some intriguing cast additions for Marvel's underdog 'Thunderbolts'.
Hello one and all and welcome to the very first issue of TheTrailBlazer, a brand-new innovative newsletter which brings you the relevant hot news around the entertainment industry straight to your mailing box, from an internet sleuth and researcher who just wants to make movies, talk about movies and pop culture, and eventually run a studio as a successful entrepreneur. Here at TheTrailBlazer, we take pride in highlighting the effective work of dedicated journalists and make them, and our readers, the trailblazing leaders of this newsletter and eventual magazine!
I am Trailblazer101, an up-and-coming filmmaker and entrepreneur following the entertainment industry with what is hot and sometimes controversial. I have written for Wikipedia and Fandom on film, television, and business while learning the filmmaking and business process. Since Monday was a slow news day in the world of entertainment, I decided to do some digging into when some highly-anticipated productions could resume work, courtesy of my favorite production listing magazine Production Weekly (which is behind a $75 monthly subscription, hence why eventual payments will be a necessity).
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The past few months, trades have said Hollywood would return to work after the writers’ and actors’ strikes, although the question since November has been “when?”. Well, I’m here to shed some light onto when you could expect some film and TV projects from Marvel Studios (some are undergoing reshoots), DC Studios, and the Star Wars galaxy.
Without further ado, onto the news! In this issue, you’ll hear about Laurence Fishburne, Rachel Weisz, Matt Reeves, James Gunn, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jon Favreau, and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy.
‘Thunderbolts’ Filming, Cast and Crew Revelations Signal Grounded and Raw Visual Style, Uneasy Family Dynamics
Starting off with what may be the biggest tidbits from the production listing is Thunderbolts, Marvel’s team-up pic of their most ragtag underdog antiheroes and villains from most recent memory. Per Production Weekly, the crossover pic produced by Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige (Avengers: Endgame, Black Panther) and production and development executive Brian Chapek (Black Widow, Thor: Love and Thunder) from director Jake Schreier (Paper Towns, Robot & Frank) and writer Lee Sung Jin (Beef), after a prior draft by Eric Pearson (Black Widow, Thor: Ragnarok). Frequent MCU stars Sebastian Stan and Wyatt Russell have both indicated that production kicks off in a couple months, with this listing revealing it will shoot from March through July 2024. Utah was previously revealed as a location last summer, and this film will shoot at Atlanta’s Trilith Studios and in New York.
The major revelation from this listing, in addition to Andrew Droz Palermo (The Green Knight, Moon Knight) taking the reigns as cinematographer from Steve Yedlin (Knives Out, Star Wars: The Last Jedi)-who had to exit due to strike-caused scheduling issues-is that two familiar MCU faces are supposedly joining the cast of Marvel’s next ensemble: Laurence Fishburne (Ant-Man and the Wasp) and Rachel Weisz (Black Widow), reprising their roles as scientist Bill Foster, the surrogate father of star Hannah John-Kamen’s (Ready Player One) phasing thief Ghost, and as Melina Vostakov, the villainous mother-figure spy of Florence Pugh’s character. We may get to see some nice, dysfunctional family dynamics between Pugh’s Yelena, Melina, and David Harbor’s Alexei Shostakov, and some father-daughter bonding with Foster and Ghost as a backdrop for the big high-stakes Marvel action, though the creatives have teased it will be different from Marvel’s other features with a grounded and raw approach for the globe-trotting pic. Fishburne is known for his dramatic and comedic roles, and while the comedic side of his MCU character to match Michael Douglas’ Hank Pym would not be out of the question, it would feel out of touch with this film’s perceived serious vibe. It should be interesting to see what has come from the Foster and Ghost relationship and if it has devolved into being the polar opposite to that of Douglas’ Pym and his daughter, Evangeline Lily’s Wasp, which would make for a more compelling story than rehashing what has already been done. After all, this is supposed to be a film about villains and anti-heroes, they should be bad!
Despite Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead, Invincible) exiting as antagonist Sentry at the year’s beginning, (with Top Gun: Maverick actor Lewis Pullman conveniently recently being offered the role) the additions of Fishburne and Weisz should be a promising indicator that Marvel is moving forward in fleshing out these characters and bringing their different worlds together.
Marvel’s First Family Takes Flight Later This Summer, If They Secure the ‘Fantastic Four’ Cast
The listing also reveals that Marvel’s first family reboot Fantastic Four will start filming in August 2024 at Pinewood Studios in London. It was listed for July, a timeframe reported by Jeff Sneider of TheInSneider, while prior listings noted May and March start dates, although these were likely changed due to the strikes’ impact on the casting process and dedicating further time to perfect the script, which was being written by Josh Friedman (Avatar: The Way of Water, War of the Worlds) and Cameron Squires (WandaVision).
Meanwhile, Avengers 5 has a late 2024 filming start in the United Kingdom (it was previously expected for spring 2024 before the many delays and creative shifts), though any start this year or next seems illogical without a director, script, or cast, especially with the problematic Kang questions. Marvel needs to take their time in fleshing our their projects in their entirety and to figure out just how this ambitious Multiverse Saga of theirs is going to pay off in the long run, and how to let audiences know what’s coming before it’s too little, too late.
Reshoots Galore! After Fixing ‘Daredevil’, Marvel Aims to Save ‘Captain America’, ‘Ironheart’
Marvel’s political thriller Captain America: Brave New World starring Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson / Captain America is set for reshoots from February through May 2024, after writer Matthew Orton performed rewrites. Filming initially lasted from March 27 until July, right before the actors’ strike. Another project going into reshoots is Ironheart, the Disney+ series starring Dominique Thorne in her Black Panther: Wakanda Forever role, which are set for Q1 2024. It originally filmed from June 21, 2022, to November 1, 2022. This comes after Thorne recently spoke to Deadline Hollywood, saying "Filming has concluded, indeed. I mean, I can say strap in, get ready. It will be a ride, much like they all are. It is an epic journey, and one that I'm very excited to share". Agatha star Kathryn Hahn revealed there were a few days left of reshoots in yet another sign of corporate parent Disney trying to output high-quality entertainment while cutting costs and overhauling Marvel’s TV business.
Marvel initially planned on doing rewrites during reshoots when the WGA strike began, but the down time allowed Marvel to rethink their content approach, such as for Daredevil: Born Again, so much that these reshoots may last somewhat longer than your typical additional photography, though not as extensive as some productions have had. (I’m looking at you, Secret Invasion, The Marvels, and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom!)
Marvel is also aiming for a 2025 production start for their long-in-development Disney+ series-turned-feature film Armor Wars starring Don Cheadle’s War Machine. Not much was included for this entry, though it did reaffirm Yassir Lester as writer and a producer and noted some actors mentioned to potentially appear, including Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer, and Thorne; the latter was reported by Collider. JLD’s involvement could be an extension of her Thunderbolts role, while Hammer’s return would fit with the original “Armor Wars” comic storyline and his pre-established characteristics, especially after his return in Marvel’s animated What If…?.
The Future of ‘Spider-Man’ in the MCU Gains Momentum
The fourth Spider-Man film from Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures is expected for a 2025 production start, with writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers returning-which Sneider recently reported. They were attached by last February when Feige said writers were involved, but work was delayed by the WGA strike. The listing mentions Jon Watts and fan-favorite Drew Goddard as “possible director choices”, although Sneider reports Goddard may not be the frontrunner. Marvel is in full swing (pun intended) in their director search for the Wall-Crawler’s next foray after the record-breaking success of the multiverse-bound Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Into the DC Universe and ‘Star Wars’ Galaxy: ‘The Batman’ Returns; ‘Peacemaker’ S2, ‘Mandalorian & Grogru’, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy Pic Filming
There have been many rumors as of late as to when Matt Reeves’ next feature installment in his The Batman crime saga will begin filming, with many individuals involved, such as Jim Gordon actor Jeffrey Wright and DP Greig Fraser, being unsure of the state of the script and production of The Batman - Part II. Given the WGA strike, it is no surprise that Reeves and his returning writing partner Mattson Tomlin are still writing Filming was originally supposed to begin in November 2023, per EP Michael Uslan, before the strikes delayed this start. Midgard Times reported a March 2024 filming start before a late summer timeframe, specifically August, was thrown around in recent weeks, and now we have confirmation of an August start at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden. The listing includes The Batman alums Paul Dano, Colin Farrell, Andy Serkis, and Wright in the cast. Serkis previously confirmed his return last February, while Collider reported Barry Keoghan would return as the Joker. Many of the key actors already signed deals to reprise their roles in future films of The Batman franchise back in November 2019, according to Variety.
Meanwhile, James Gunn’s Superman: Legacy is on track to shoot in March at Trilith Studios in Atlanta, under the working title “Genesis”, while the second season of Gunn’s Max series Peacemaker is listed with a late 2024 start timeframe.
Wrapping up this first issue with last, but certainly not least, is the next adventure in the Star Wars galaxy from director Jon Favreau. His next film, The Mandalorian & Grogru, was revealed by Lucasfilm to shoot this year. We now have a start date of June 17 in LA. This was previously the listed date for Mando Season 4, while Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars film is listed for May 2024, previously April 7, in the UK. Steven Knight is still working on the script, so this may not pan out, while the listing noticeably does not include a known writer yet for Favreau’s film. Well, that’s all for now, folks!
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