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May 1, 2009

Newsbites: The Marvel Comics edition!

1. Just as comic books sometimes come out with multiple covers, to take advantage of the collectors who absolutely must buy each and every version, so too there are at least two different versions of X-Men Origins: Wolverine out there, each with a different "Easter egg" at the end that will "push the storyline forward." Fans who want to see both versions will have to pay to see the movie twice -- or they could wait for YouTube, I guess. Expect to see the studio's lawyers playing whack-a-mole with that and other online video sites over the weekend. -- Patrick Goldstein (x2), FirstShowing.net, David Poland

2. But what does this reference to "pushing the storyline forward" mean? Will Wolverine lay the groundwork for X-Men: First Class? We already know that Wolverine features new actor Tim Pocock as a younger version of Cyclops, the laser-eyed character who was played by James Marsden in the original trilogy -- and in a recent interview, producer Lauren Shuler Donner said young Cyclops would be featured in First Class, along with young Jean Grey and young Beast: "It is the first class of Xavier's school, way back when . . . hopefully First Class will become its own franchise and we can follow them as they grow up." -- Comics Continuum

3. Or will it lay the groundwork for a movie devoted to Deadpool? Ryan Reynolds, the actor who plays Deadpool in the current film, says he would be very interested in doing a spin-off movie based on that character, but he says he would want it to be much, much more faithful to the original comic-book character than the current movie is. -- MTV Movie News, MTV Splash Page

4. Or will it lay the groundwork for yet another Wolverine movie? Hugh Jackman admits that he has been "talking to writers" about doing such a film. -- MTV Splash Page (x2)

5. And let's not forget that Magneto prequel, which producer Lauren Shuler Donner says is also waiting in the wings, depending on how well the Wolverine prequel does at the box office. -- Sci Fi Wire

6. In other Marvel-related news, Sony Pictures chiefs Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton say they are open to the possibility of making Spider-Man 4 in 3-D. Meanwhile, director Sam Raimi says Spider-Man 3 (2007) wasn't as good as the first two films because he didn't have as much creative control on that film as he did on its predecessors. He says the script for the new film is due this summer, and he hopes to meet with Kirsten Dunst soon to convince her to play Mary Jane Watson again. The film is currently scheduled to hit theatres on May 6, 2011. -- Forbes, Screen Rant, Sci Fi Wire (x2), IGN.com, MTV Splash Page

7. Meanwhile, Sony is developing a movie devoted to the supervillain Venom. Zombieland co-writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese won't say whether their film takes the Spider-Man 3 version of the character into account, but they do say that they have already turned in the first draft of their script. -- Sci Fi Wire, ComingSoon.net, MTV Splash Page

8. Casting is under way for Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark, the stage musical directed by Julie Taymor and co-written by Bono and The Edge. -- MTV Movie News, MTV Splash Page

9. The cameras have been rolling on Iron Man 2 for a few weeks now, and director Jon Favreau has been Twittering the production every step of the way. Story details are still sketchy, but Robert Downey Jr. has revealed that this movie will not be based on the 'Demon in a Bottle' storyline -- though that storyline may come up in one of the subsequent sequels -- and he says the story will basically be about "how a dysfunctional family saves life on Earth as we know it." The story may also involve a love triangle between Tony Stark, Pepper Potts and the new character Black Widow, who will be played by Scarlett Johansson. Other returning actors include Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Clark Gregg as SHIELD agent Phil Coulson. New actors include: Don Cheadle as James Rhodes (replacing the original film's Terrence Howard); Mickey Rourke as the Russian villain Whiplash; Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer; comedian Garry Shandling as a U.S. senator; and Kate Mara in an as-yet-unspecified role. -- MTV Splash Page (x2, x3, x4), Collider.com, Nikki Finke (x2), Hollywood Reporter, Sci Fi Wire, Variety, IESB.net, Jeffrey Wells, USA Today

10. Meanwhile, Faran Tahir, who played the villain Raza in the original Iron Man, speculates that there might be a part for him in Iron Man 3, depending on what Favreau and his writers do with the villainous person or persons known as "the Mandarin". -- Sci Fi Wire, MTV Splash Page

11. Kenneth Branagh is still working on his Thor movie and is "thinking ahead" to how his tale of the Nordic god might connect to the more tech-based storylines of Iron Man and the other Avengers characters. Casting rumours have come and gone with regard to who might play Thor himself, but one of the more persistent rumours is that Branagh might want Josh Hartnett to play the villainous god Loki. -- MTV Splash Page (x2, x3), IESB.net

12. Speaking of The Avengers, Marvel Studios has delayed the release of that film to May 2012, to give the intervening films a little more breathing room. And if Marvel sticks to the current schedule, then its properties will probably end up owning the first weekend in May for six years straight: Spider-Man 3 in 2007, Iron Man in 2008, X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009, Iron Man 2 in 2010, Spider-Man 4 in 2011 and The Avengers in 2012. -- ComingSoon.net, Hollywood Reporter, Variety

13. And now for something completely different: Vin Diesel says he is interested in playing Doctor Doom or possibly even Namor the Sub-Mariner. -- MTV Splash Page

14. Marvel Entertainment is developing a "writers group" that will consist of roughly half-a-dozen writers whose job it will be to convert some of the company's lesser-known comic books into movie scripts. The group will reportedly focus on characters like "Black Panther, Cable, Doctor Strange, Iron Fist, Nighthawk and Vision." -- Variety, Nikki Finke

Related Tags: avengers, deadpool, iron man, magneto, spider-man, thor, venom, wolverine, x-men