Release Date: July 17, 2015
NEW ADDITIONS: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, More TBA
RISK ASSESSMENT: Despite a list of actors stilled rumored for parts, the only official new additions recruited for Batman vs. Superman are Ben Affleck as Batman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. But boy, have those two casting announcements made an impact, as the future of DC and Warner Bros.’ movie universe hangs in the balance…
Fanboys always watch each comic book movie casting announcement like it’s a major headline, but it’s rare when comic book movie casting DOES make major headline news – and casting an Oscar-winning writer/director/all-around star like Ben Affleck as Batman did just that. People might still currently know Gal Gadot as “that Fast & Furious chick,” but the news that Wonder Woman is coming to a movie screen soon has been its own headline-grabber.
Right now though, this all has a big asterisk hanging over it: There are villains yet to be cast (Lex Luthor, possibly Doomsday), and we know additional stars (like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) are currently being courted for the DC Movie Universe – but where and when they’ll officially show up remains to be seen. This section could be getting some significant updates in the near future.
OVERALL RISK: High – Even with just two significant pieces of casting, DC Entertainment is betting a lot of chips in a high stakes game that could begin showing cracks from the moment we finally get a look at Batman’s new costume or Wonder Woman’s supposed battle armor. And if it goes wrong, it’s likely that it’ll all go wrong for the studio’s Justice League plans. No pressure.
Release Date: July 31, 2015
NEW ADDITIONS: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, More TBA
RISK ASSESSMENT: Ant-Man has the challenge of stepping into the wake of Avengers 2 and kick-ing off Marvel Phase 3 in an exciting way – quite a colossal task for a diminutive hero. In order to sell the public (beyond fanboy circles) Marvel has unveiled an ambitious casting plan: Place signature charm-guy Paul Rudd (This Is 40) in the central role with supporting gravitas from none other than Michael Douglas.
Like with Guardians of the Galaxy, the approach seems to be mixing veteran prestige talent (Douglas) with charming up-and-coming talent (Rudd), in order to rally fans behind a lead they can like, while piquing mainstream interest in the obscure (and dangerously close to silly) superhero film via the involvement of an acting heavyweight. The only problem with that plan is the story that director Edgar Wright seems to be telling.
With Douglas playing fan-favorite veteran Avenger Hank Pym, and Rudd playing Scott Lang, a later incarnation of the character, the implication seems to be that Ant-Man will be taking a very different approach to the source material. Right now, not even Marvel fans are secure in the studio’s departures from canon – if Iron Man 3 is any indication.
OVERALL RISK: High – Ant-Man is a HARD sell to the average viewer, and making significant changes to the character and his lore means that not even hardcore fans are going to necessarily be behind this project. That’s a lot of pressure left on writer/director Edgar Wright to really warm audiences over with his creatively fun filmmaking prowess.
CONCLUSION – The Biggest Risk
While Marvel is banking on new talent and solid veteran actors to help sell their more obscure or hard-sell properties, DC is literally betting the farm on some casting choices that only seem to split their fanbase down the middle with each and every announcement.
People far and wide will surely flock to see the new Batman and the first movie incarnation of Wonder Woman (among other highlights of Batman vs. Superman) – but the moment they decide they don’t like either or both actors in those iconic roles, the Justice League movie battle goes from uphill to mountainous climb.
So while this can all indeed change in the blink of one great piece of casting news (will it be Bryan Cranston for Lex Luthor? Or additional characters filling out Ant-Man? Or how about the BIG rumors about which stars – Johnny Depp, Joaquin Phoenix – could be joining these universes?) at the current moment we’re forced to say:
BIGGEST RISK: DC Entertainment
Batman vs. Superman will be in theaters on July 17, 2015.
Follow me and discuss all this and more TV/Movie news – @ppnkof
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