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The Superhero Crib Sheet

updated 3/6/03
Hi. We know nothing about comics or "graphic novels" or superheroes or any of that. Okay, Mr. Typo and Correspondent Vladimir probably do, but guess what? They're not in charge of this page. This is basically a "Superheroes for Dummies" page, since Cleolinda wouldn't know Hellboy from a hole in the ground, and we have a feeling that she's not (completely) alone on this. But in the next couple of years, you may find yourself needing to know.

Why comic books--and why now? you may be asking. Well, we have a theory. You can find a very depressing rationale from a studio exec on our
Sequel-Remake Registry of Shame page, in which you can discover that studios are more than ever concerned with "branding"--a movie's ability to create a brand-name umbrella under which tons of merchandise and, yes, sequels, can flourish. In the midst of this thinking, comic book superheroes arise as the perfect solution: The creative content is already there, as with a novel adaptation, but unlike "higher" literature, comic books have built-in fan bases, copious action scenes, and a general good-time vibe. So, basically, you can expect a good number of superhero movies to pop up in the next couple of years.

Oh, and yes, there will be a quiz afterwards.
Batman
What it’s about:
Oh, you know. The Batman series—until Joel Schumacher and his latex fetish got hold of it—dominated the early ‘90s blockbuster scene. Angsty Bruce Wayne, intrigued gal pal, plethora of villains. Has now spun off Catwoman.
Who’s in it:
Right now, no one, although last we heard, Christopher Nolan was taking over for Darren Aronofsky, and he was considering Memento star Guy Pearce.
When it’s coming out:
TBA.

Batman vs. Superman
What it's about:
Theoretically, Batman suffers a tragedy and Superman has to straighten him out, is what we've heard.
Who's in it: Lord. Names like Jude Law, Josh Hartnett, Colin Farrell, and Christian Bale have zoomed around, but the emergence of the J.J. Abrams "Superman" script has rendered all such discussion moot: Warner Bros. has shelved Bvs.S indefinitely.
When it's coming out: Your guess is as good as ours.

Catwoman
What it’s about:
Spun off from the Michelle Pfeiffer character in Batman Returns, although the actual character has had a long life in previous incarnations (TV, comics, etc.). While the Digest thinks that Pfeiffer now owns this character, she has either declined to return or was not asked, depending on who’s telling the story. Superhero Hype lists the current plotline thusly: “Patience Price, a woman wrongfully killed, manages to come back to settle the score as Catwoman...” So no Selina Kyle this time.
Who’s in it: Last we heard, Ashley Judd was definitely out to do Cat on a Hot Tin Roof onstage. Halle Berry considered taking over, and then NIcole Kidman, but apparently Kidman is rethinking the constrictions of a three-picture deal. Owen Wilson may costar. Director: Pitof (the French film Vidocq). Yes, that his is entire working name.
When it’s coming out: To be announced.

Constantine (aka Hellblazer)
What it’s about:
"John Constantine has been to Hell and back... Using his knowlege of the occult, he wages a war against the demons among us. With the help of a female police officer, Constantine finds himself face to face with the agents of darkness called the 'First of the Fallen.' Will mankind survive, will John and his trademark trenchcoat escape the demons' clutches?? We'll have to wait and see as Nicolas Cage becomes... CONSTANTINE." (Superhero Hype)
Who’s in it: At this juncture (10/10/02), it looks like Keanu Reeves will replace Nicolas Cage. Tarsem is out, and Francis Lawrence will direct.
When it’s coming out: Summer 2004

Daredevil
(
See the Yahoo Movies page)

Elektra
What it's about: A spinoff from Daredevil for the Jennifer Garner character seems to be a certainty at this point.
Who's in it: Jennifer Garner has been confirmed. Mark Steven Johnson, writer/ director of Daredevil, says that he will not write Elektra, but may still direct.
When it's coming out: To be announced.

Fantastic Four
What it’s about:
"Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm are forever transformed after a freak accident while manning an experimental rocket into the Fantastic Four. Each is given extraordinary super-human powers." (Superhero Hype) Upcoming Movies has a more detailed description of those powers.
Who’s in it: No cast as of yet.
When it’s coming out: 2003

Ghost Rider
What it’s about:
"Johnny Blaze has a dark secret - he is the Ghost Rider - who can grab you and force you to re-live tenfold all the sins you have perpetuated in your life… if there are too many sins, you'll burn up and incinerate. The Ghost Rider is unstoppable as he dishes out a hellish justice on his Hell-Cycle." Hell-Cycle. Indeeeeeeed. (Superhero Hype)
Who’s in it: Nicolas Cage (told you he was bent on being a superhero), Jon Voight
When it’s coming out: TBA.

The Greatest American Hero
What it’s about: “A high school math teacher is given a special suit by mysterious aliens that will allow him to perform amazing feats (flying, super-strength, X-ray vision, shrinking, invisibility, just about every super power). The problem is that he quickly loses the instruction book, so he has to learn how to use the suit, which, quite frankly, he's not very good at... He's soon joined by an FBI agent, who teams up with the 'super hero,' basically using him to fight crime, etc.” So you’re saying the title is basically a lie…? (Upcoming Movies)
Who’s in it: No one yet.
When it’s coming out: The film was just announced as being put into pre-production last week (April 19, 2002), and it's been around for at least a couple of years before that, so who knows?

The Green Hornet
What it’s about:
"The big-screen Green Hornet will be set in California in the year 2000. Kato travels from Hong Kong on the hunt for a dangerous eastern cult leader and teams up with the son of a wealthy media mogul who is endangered by the same sect." Upcoming Movies, quoting screenwriter John Fusco above, has more info on the characters themselves.
Who’s in it: Jet Li (Kato), Ray Park (in talks to play the villain); “Other cast, including who will play Britt Reid, aka the Green Hornet, not announced yet,” says Upcoming Movies.
When it’s coming out: Your guess is as good as ours. This one’s been in development since 2000. However, in November 2001, Miramax did buy this one out from Universal, so it’s showing signs of life again.

Hellboy
What it’s about:
"The World's Greatest Paranormal Investigator. [Note: Dude, we thought that was Agent Mulder. Oh well.] In 1944, The German Reich was trying to create a weapon to destroy its enemies with the help of a black sorcerer, whose purpose was to destroy life on Earth. The power they released was derived, resulting in the incarnation of a creature… This creature was a kid, who was named Hellboy for his demon-like appearance, and raised by a British Professor. Nowadays, Hellboy works for the BPRD as a paranormal investigator. He has an indestructible right hand and he is stronger than a human being. It seems that Hellboy's fate is to destroy humanity. However, he is fighting against that fate as best as he can." (Superhero Hype.) Currently filming in Prague.
Who’s in it: Director Guillermo del Toro; Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, John Hurt, James Babson , Rupert Evans, Biddy Hodson, Karel Roden, Jeffrey Tambor
When it’s coming out: Summer 2004.

The Hulk
What it’s about:
"Bruce Banner, a brilliant scientist employed to create weapons for the government, Banner was out of touch with his emotions when during an experimental test finds himself caught in a "gamma bomb" blast while he selflessly rushed to the rescue of a teenager who had wandered onto the testing field. Banner was struck full-force by the bomb blast. He survived, but was irradiated by the deadly gamma energy and is turned into an incredible hulking creature known as the Hulk. Now Banner must battle with his inner demons and wrestle with controlling his anger…" (Superhero Hype)
Who’s in it: Eric Bana (Bruce Banner), Jennifer Connelly (Betty Ross), Nick Nolte (Banner’s father). Director: Ang Lee (Sense & Sensibility, The Ice Storm, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon)
When it’s coming out: June 20, 2003

Iron Fist
What it’s about:
"Raised in the otherworldly kingdom of K'un-Lun as an unparalleled martial artist, Danny Rand mastered the ability to focus his spiritual energy into an impervious fist of iron. Iron Fist can summon his "chi" - a natural, spiritual energy to elevate his martial-arts mastery to peak-human levels. He most often channels this force through his hand, temporarily rendering the chosen extremity impervious to pain and injury. Rand also can use this ability to cure illnesses and injuries in himself and others. Now, as the costumed adventurer called Iron Fist, he fights with the fury of his ancestors and a hope for a better tomorrow!" (Superhero Hype)
Who’s in it: Ray Park; Beyoncé Knowles is said to be a possibility to play Misty Knight.
When it’s coming out: 2003.

Iron Man
What it’s about:
"When billionaire genius Tony Stark was gravely injured by an act of industrial sabotage, he saved his own life by designing a life-sustaining shell -- the hi-tech armor that is the invincible Iron Man. Iron Man is a modern-day knight in shining armor, a mixture of man and machine fighting injustice wherever it rears its ugly head!" (Superhero Hype)
Who’s in it: No one cast yet. Upcoming Movies notes that, while Nicolas Cage and Tom Cruise once expressed interest, the role will probably go to someone else entirely.
When it’s coming out: Summer 2004.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
What it’s about:
Quoth IGN Filmforce, "Variety has described The League as being set in 'the penultimate year of Queen Victoria's reign, which ended with her death in 1901' and that it's 'essentially a period piece X-Men, culling its leading protagonists from the landscape of British popular literature. Mina Harker (nee Murray) of Bram Stoker's Dracula leads the motley crew of misfits, who include the Indiana Jones precursor Allan Quatermain, from H. Rider Haggard's books; Captain Nemo, the Indian submariner prince of Jules Verne's 20,000 League Under the Sea; the infamously bipolar Dr. Henry Jekyll created by Robert Louis Stevenson; and the seldom seen Dr. Hawley Griffin, the transparent rogue of H.G. Wells' The Invisible Man. In Moore's League all these fictional literary characters are real – and really needed. All are called upon by Queen Victoria to help thwart an evil madman who is intent upon – what else? – world domination.' "
Who’s in it: Sean Connery (Allan Quartermain), Stuart Townsend (Dorian Gray), Shane West (Tom Sawyer), Peta Wilson (Mina Harker), Jason Flemyng, Naseeruddin Shah, Jason Isaacs, Richard Roxburgh, Tony Curran
When it's coming out: June 6, 2003

Mort the Dead Teenager
What it's about:
Seriously, this is for real: Mort's decapitated in an accident and comes back, presumably with super powers.
Who's in it: Possibly eternal teenager Elijah Wood, Dominique Swain, director Quentin Tarantino.
When it's coming out: In development.

Powers
What it's about:
CHUD says, "Powers, by omnipresent writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Mike Avon Oeming, revolves around a pair of police detectives investigating the mysterious murders of super-powered figures in a city of costumed heroes."
Who's in it: No one yet; director Frank Oz is tipped to helm.
When it's coming out: In development.

The Punisher
What it's about:
"The Punisher doesn't possess superpowers, but his obsession with avenging the murder of his family after they witness a gangland killing leads him on a vigilante course. Ex-soldier Frank Castle becomes a one-man assault team against the crime syndicate that killed his family" (Yahoo).
Who's in it:
No one yet. Jonathan Hensleigh will write and direct.
When it's coming out:
You think they have the first clue at this point?

The Silver Surfer

What it's about: "Norrin Radd was once a scientist on the planet of Zenn-La. But he lost all that as well as his human form when he pledged himself as the herald of the all-powerful Galactus, a being who threatened to annihilate his homeworld and must consume planets to sustain himself. Changed by Galactus and imbused with cosmic energy, Norrin Radd's body was transformed into a metallic scout capable of flying across the cosmos - the Silver Surfer. The Surfer betrays his master, however, when he falls in love with one of the doomed planets; a planet known as Earth." (Counting Down)
Who's in it: Leonardo DiCaprio is rumored at this point.
When it's coming out: TBA.

Spider-Man 2
What it’s about: Rumors are swirling that Doc Ock and Lizard may show up this time.
Who's in it: Tobey Maguire (Peter Parker/Spider-Man), Kirsten Dunst (Mary Jane Watson)--we know they've signed on for the sequel. Presumably James Franco (Harry Osborn) will return as well. Update: Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon has come aboard to script.
When it’s coming out: Filming starts January 2003.

The Sub-Mariner
What it's about:
"The story follows Prince Namor, a half-man/half-amphibian creature from Atlantis. A troubled rebel with a short temper, he has helped the human race and fought against it when humankind polluted his underwater kingdom with waste," says Dark Horizons.
Who's in it: No one yet.
When it's coming out: No one knows.

Superman
What it’s about:
“Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap buildings in a single bound... Look up in the sky, It's a bird, It's a plane... It's SUPERMAN!” Oh, like you didn’t know. Update: Oh, Lord. This has become the great in-development controversy of the year. A number of sources on the debacle, including the infamous AICN review of J.J. Abrams' script and several Brett Ratner interviews, can be found on our news pages of 9/16/02 and 9/18/02.
Who’s in it: At this juncture, McG is out and Ratner is in, bringing along his Red Dragon star Anthony Hopkins to play Superman's father. Superman himself has not yet been cast, although a few coy rumors hinting at Josh Hartnett have emerged. Warner Bros. does not seem interested in tying this into the WB's "Smallville," and has in fact considered canceling the extremely popular show to avoid story conflicts (Lex Luthor grew up with Superman!) with this movie (Lex Luthor is an alien CIA agent!).
When it’s coming out: To be announced. This one’s been in development for a long, long time—Upcoming Movies’ page dates back to June 2000, and they have links to pages that covered the story before that.

Wonder Woman
What it’s about:
"An Amazon princess born and raised on Paradise Island far from the eyes of men, Diana becomes protector of the free world, possessing the strength and beauty of the Greek goddesses Aphrodite & Athena, she is Wonder Woman!" (Superhero Hype)
Who’s in it: Not Sandra Bullock anymore. As of 4/12, Upcoming Movies says that a newcomer named Jordan Bayne has some “buzz”; a year ago, Eliza Dushku was also considered for the role (IGN).
When it’s coming out: Not sure.

X-Men (X2)
What it’s about:
Right now it’s said that the studio has two dueling scripts in development and will combine the best elements of both. (As a writer, Cleo shudders.) Not to give anything away, but the general agreement is that it will involve the X-Men banding together with Magneto’s crew to fight a third, even eeeeee-viller party.
Who’s in it: Pretty much everyone from the first movie returns (Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, Anna Paquin, James Marsden, et. al.), including director Bryan Singer. Of course, the stars are all probably more expensive now, particularly Jackman and Berry.
When it’s coming out: May 3, 2003
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Upcoming Movies says that “Artisan [En-tertainment also] has film rights to, as per a May 2000 announce-ment, including Cap-tain America, Ant-Man, Black Panther, Power Pack, Longshot, Dead-pool, and Morbius the Living Vampire,” and Marvel Comics has “4700+ proprietary characters” to farm out.
Spiderman Poster Set (4 posters, 22 by 35 inches each)
Spiderman
Great Spider-Man posters available at Allposters.com!
Spiderman X (Double Sided)
Spiderman
Superheroes listed (new)
Batman
Batman vs. Superman
Catwoman
Constantine (Hellblazer)
Daredevil
Elektra
Fantastic Four
Ghost Rider
Greatest American Hero
Green Hornet
Hellboy
Hulk
Iron Fist
Iron Man
League/Extraord. Gentlemen
Mort the Dead Teenager
Powers
Punisher
The Silver Surfer
Spider-Man 2
Sub-Mariner
Superman
Wonder Woman
X-Men 2 (X2)