MONDAY MARVEL ROUNDUP: ‘Black Widow’, ‘Doctor Strange 2’, ‘Silver & Black’, ‘Captain America’, and Phase Four

‘Black Widow’ Director Cate Shortland Says They’re Passing Baton To Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova

Black Widow director Cate Shortland tells Empire in a newly published interview that instead of making the solo film an origin story for Scarlett’s Natasha Romanoff, they see is as passing the baton to Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova. 

SHORTLAND: “[Kevin Feige] realized that the audience would expect an origin story so, of course, we went in the opposite direction,” Shortland tells Empire. “And we didn’t know how great Florence Pugh would be. We knew she would be great, but we didn’t know how great. Scarlett is so gracious, like, ‘Oh, I’m handing her the baton.’ So it’s going to propel another female storyline.”

“In Endgame, the fans were upset that Natasha did not have a funeral. Whereas Scarlett, when I spoke to her about it, said Natasha wouldn’t have wanted a funeral. She’s too private, and anyway, people don’t really know who she is. So what we did in this film was allow the ending to be the grief the individuals felt, rather than a big public outpouring. I think that’s a fitting ending for her.”

The film has been expected to be released on November 6th, after Disney gave the film Eternal‘s original spot in the spring. However, it’s unknown if the film will get pushed to February 12th given the rise in new cases of COVID-19 in the United States which could be a problem for the studio attempting to earn hundreds of millions of dollars at the global box office. 

Also, a new trailer is expected to be on the way after it was classified in the United Kingdom. 

‘Thor: Love & Thunder’ Actress Tessa Thompson Expects An Explosion of Diversity In Marvel’s Phase Four

In a recent interview for Variety, Thor franchise actress Tessa Thompson talked-up how Marvel’s Phase Four will be ramping-up representation in a big way. 

THOMPSON: “I think in this next phase of Marvel, we’re really talking about what representation looks like in those spaces. Because the truth is these movies travel globally in such huge ways, and if you can represent people that are of color, if you can represent people with disabilities, if you can represent the LGBTQIA community inside of these films, it’s a pretty big deal.”

“There’s millions and millions of people, particularly young people, that show up to the cinema. And I think if you can show them something that looks like them, they feel valued. Particularly inside of these narratives of the comic books, that’s what it’s all about. It’s that our differences make us special.”

We know they’ll be making some strides soon with having Asian main leads in Eternals with Gemma Chan playing leading heroine Sersi and Shang-Chi with Simu Liu and Awkwafina. 

Pakistani-American comedian/actor Kumail Nanjiani has a decently sized role in Eternals playing superhero Kingo and deaf actress Lauren Ridloff plays speedster Makkari in the film. We’ll also see openly gay parents played by Brian Tyree Henry (Phastos) and Haaz Sleiman. 

One of their upcoming Disney+ series Ms. Marvel will feature a Pakistani-American Muslim teenager from New Jersey named Kamala Khan. 

Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali was announced as the new actor to play a rebooted version of Blade in the MCU last summer and it remains to be seen if his version of the Daywalker in the Phase Five project will reflect his own Muslim faith. 

Tessa’s own Valkyrie will be seeking her queen in Thor: Love & Thunder. Hopefully, Disney/Marvel will be more comfortable in the future to actually have non-hetero heroes leading their films, not just in supporting roles. 

We’ll have to see what other doors they’ll be opening for characters/actors in the future, but as pointed out recently by Anthony Mackie the studio needs to do a better job of hiring a diverse group of people behind the camera as well. 

‘Doctor Strange 2’ Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor Excited To Work With Director Sam Raimi 

While promoting his new Netflix film The Old Guard, actor Chiwetel Ejiofor expressed his excitement to work with director Sam Raimi on the upcoming Doctor Strange sequel titled Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness

Chiwetel will be reprising his role as villain Baron Karl Mordo. 

Raimi, who directed the original Spider-Man trilogy for Sony Pictures had replaced Scott Derrickson on the Doctor Strange sequel after there were “creative differences” 

Here’s what the actor told GamesRadar+

EJIOFOR: “I love Sam Raimi, so I’m very excited that he’s making a film, the second Doctor Strange. He brings to anything he does, a wealth of imagination and passion. In this genre, he’s just one of the seminal figures. I remember seeing Darkman when I was a kid. It was beyond, it’s so amazing.”

“So I think he has an incredible mind and I think he’s really able to bring that mind into his storytelling in a really unique way, and it’s very suited to the world that’s been created by Doctor Strange, and I’m very excited to see what he does with that world.”

The cast also includes Benedict Cumberbatch as Strange, Elizabeth Olsen taking a co-starring role as Scarlet Witch, and we’ll also see the return of Benedict Wong as Wong. 

There is an expectation that both Disney+ series Loki and WandaVision will help establish the events of the sequel along with introducing the Multiverse. 

Filming had been originally expected to begin in the spring/summer at Longcross Studios in Surrey, England along with exterior locations in Norway and New York City. 

There is a slim possibility that filming could begin in the fall on the Doctor Strange sequel, but it’s unlikely they’ve been able to finish the set construction phase of prep to shooting anytime soon. Suggesting they could push the production start into 2021 as I believe they will for Spider-Man 3 as well. 

Chris Evans Already Misses Playing Captain America

During an interview with BackstageCaptain America and Avengers star Chris Evans mentioned that he already misses the role. However, don’t get too excited about the potential of him returning to the role anytime soon. 

EVANS: “I absolutely loved my time with Marvel. I already miss it, but there’s no denying that it is very exciting to just have complete freedom to pursue whatever my creative appetite wants.”

We know Evans has been linked for a supporting lead role in the new Little Shop of Horrors incarnation from Warner Bros. and we’ll see Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson eventually take on the Captain America mantle in his Disney+ series The Falcon & The Winter Soldier

Director Gina Prince-Bythewood Hopeful She’ll Pivot Back To ‘Spider-Man’ Spinoff ‘Silver & Black’ 

The Old Guard director Gina Prince-Bythewood has revealed to GamesRadar+ that she would be open to returning to Sony’s Silver & Black at some point. The project is a Spider-Man spinoff that would have paired talented thief Felicia Hardy aka Black Cat and mercenary Silver Sablinova aka Silver Sable in their own movie. 

Gina sounds open to the idea of returning to the project once Sony is ready to make it. 

PRINCE-BYTHEWOOD: “My honest answer is I don’t know. I really love those characters, I loved having them together. I thought, what we came up with was a really good, really organic way to have the two together. That world is changing so much because of the success of the Spider-Man films.”

“There’s a question of, ‘Can you really have these films with Spider-Man not in them? Should he at least have some sort of part in them?’ That’s always the question. I’ve taken two years off of that for [The Old Guard] so once this gets out into the world, I hope it’s a success, and then I’ll certainly go back and start talking with them again.” 

In the wake of Gina leaving to make The Old Guard, Sony announced plans to split the project into two separate films. They haven’t updated since and Prince-Bythewood had suggested previously that a possible Disney+ series was being considered. 

Sony has been hellbent on getting together as many Spider-Man spinoff films in development as possible after the massive success of Tom Hardy’s Venom at the box office back in 2018.

 In 2021, we’ll see the release of both Morbius and Venom: Let There Be Carnage, the latter project confirmed with its teaser trailer the film is directly connected to Spider-Man: Homecoming after featuring Michael Keaton’s Vulture in a scene. It remains to be seen how much involvement if any we’ll see from Marvel Studios concerning these spinoffs and if they’ll be allowed to call themselves part of the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

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