doddleDIGEST: The Suicide Squad, Marvel/X-Men, Star Wars: Episode IX

By Danny F. Santos (doddleNEWS)

This week’s digest covers casting news for James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, when we can reasonably expect X-Men to show up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and J.J. Abrams talks Star Wars: Episode IX. Let’s kick it off with The Suicide Squad.

The Suicide Squad Casting News

James Gunn has been re-hired to direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 but before that, he’ll be doing a soft reboot of Suicide Squad for Warner Bros. We knew that Margot Robbie was returning as Harley Quinn but the rest of the cast was still up in the air. The Wrap has confirmed Viola Davis will return as Amanda Waller while Jai Courtney told Business Insider that he’ll be back for Gunn’s reboot. Due to scheduling conflicts, Will Smith wouldn’t be able to reprise his role as Deadshot so the character was originally recast with Idris Elba.

Now Variety is reporting that Elba will not be playing Deadshot and will instead play a new character. The reason for it is to leave the door open for Smith to possibly return as Deadshot in the future. I have to say this news is great since Elba’s take on Deadshot would have been very different and it gives him more room to explore a new character. Along with Smith and Robbie, Courtney and Viola were highlights of the original film so this is all exciting news to me.

Marvel Studios has a Five Year Plan, Doesn’t Include X-Men

With Disney acquiring 20th Century Fox, Marvel fans are desperate to know when the X-Men will begin to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While speaking with i09, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige revealed that fans shouldn’t hold their breath:

It’ll be a while. It’s all just beginning and the five-year plan that we’ve been working on, we were working on before any of that was set. So really it’s much more, for us, less about specifics of when and where [the X-Men will appear] right now and more just the comfort factor and how nice it is that they’re home. That they’re all back. But it will be a very long time.

The five year plan sounds very interesting and as for what films we can expect, Feige was a bit vague:

The slate that we’re building over the next five years [is] not apples to apples. It is two very distinct things and I hope they’ll feel very distinct. But there is a similar mentality going into it, which is ‘How can we continue to tell stories with some of the characters that audiences already know and love in a unique way, in a different way, in surprising way, of which we have a lot of plans and ideas and work already going into it?’ [Then] ‘How can we introduce new characters that even hardcore fans, comic fans, have barely known or barely heard of.’ That’s really exciting too.

My best guess is to expect an Avengers movie in 2021 and another in 2024 since we seem to get a new team-up movie every three years. Seven Marvel movies are pretty much guaranteed (Black Widow, The Eternals, Shang-Chi, Guardians 3, Doctor Strange 2, Black Panther 2, and Captain Marvel 2) leaving six films unknown. Even if none of those are mutant based films I bet mutants will start to show up in supporting roles and cameos throughout the MCU.

J.J. Abrams Talks Star Wars: Episode IX

This year is going to be a watershed year for film sagas coming to an end. Avengers: Endgame will be the climax to over ten years of storytelling but that pales in comparison to the 41 years it has taken to tell Star Wars’ Skywalker saga. In an interview with Fast Company, J.J. Abrams revealed that he felt the crunch with regards to the schedule. Here’s what he told the outlet.

I’m not complaining when I say this, but it was having to make decisions based on gut. When Damon Lindelof and I created Lost, we had essentially 12 weeks to write, cast, shoot, cut, and turn in a two-hour pilot with a big cast. And that was a crazy short amount of time. The benefit of that was, we didn’t have time to overthink. There wasn’t time to get studio notes that end up sometimes taking you in lateral positions and making you adjust things—death by a thousand cuts—to a place where something doesn’t resemble what it should be, and you can’t remember why you got there or how.

I’m going to point out that I actively hated how Lost ended. Having said that, Abrams had nothing to do with that show after the first season which was easily the best. He also pretty much confirms that Star Wars: Episode IX will mark the end of the Skywalker saga as has been widely reported. Here is how he is approaching it and the fact that it is following Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi.

I had some gut instincts about where the story would have gone. But without getting in the weeds on episode eight, that was a story that Rian wrote and was telling based on seven before we met. So he was taking the thing in another direction. So we also had to respond to Episode VIII. So our movie was not just following what we had started, it was following what we had started and then had been advanced by someone else. So there was that, and, finally, it was resolving nine movies. While there are some threads of larger ideas and some big picture things that had been conceived decades ago and a lot of ideas that Lawrence Kasdan and I had when we were doing Episode VII, the lack of absolute inevitability, the lack of a complete structure for this thing, given the way it was being run was an enormous challenge.

The big thing we should take from that is the “big picture things that had been conceived decades ago”. What exactly does that mean? Are there archives with George Lucas’ notes regarding the original plan for Star Wars in the Lucasfilm vault? I can’t wait to see what they’ve cooked up as a series conclusion and I hope it will be satisfying.

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