Plenty of Marvel movie news this week, it seems, as the funnybook filmmakers have now juggled their ambitious release schedule to be a bit more realistic (and to move their climactic Avengers movie out of competition with the last Harry Potter film). Jon Favreau’s Iron Man 2 remains on track for May 7, 2010, but since Sony has decided to drop Spider-Man 4 on May 6, 2011, Kenneth Branagh’s Thor has now been pushed back a year to June 17, 2011 and Captain America has been bumped back from May to July 22, 2011. That, in turn, pushes The Avengers back to May of 2012. This gives the Marvel creative team a bit more breathing room to build whatever thru-line story they’re planning to intertwine the worlds of a corporate magnate in a techno-suit, a mystical thunder god and a super soldier from World War II into the same movie. It’ll take some doing to sell that, but it’ll surely be fun to see ‘em try. It’ll also be fun to see Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark crack wise about magical hammer-wielding viking lords.
In other Marvel news, we’ve got Mickey Rourke officially signed on to play a Russian villain in Iron Man 2, and now we’ve got the lethally sexy superspy Natasha Romanov, aka The Black Widow, cast with the voluptuous Scarlett Johansson. The report is that Marvel’s strategy of completely lowballing actors at first has finally worked, and Nikki Finke is saying the deal she signed is a pretty bad one. Perhaps the kind of deal Terrence Howard wouldn’t sign, which got him replaced with Don Cheadle. Perhaps the kind of deal Samuel L. Jackson wouldn’t sign and publicly complained about until Marvel got serious and signed him to a 9-movie deal. Then again, Scarlett’s box office record has been spotty at best, and the rumor is that she’d lost the role to Emily Blunt until Fox exercised a contractual option and forced her out of the project. Maybe ScarJo thought she’d better sign while the signing’s available. Economy’s rough and all.
But we also saw her cavorting around in The Spirit, which almost nobody liked.