Marvel movie round-up: Whedon signs on to ‘Avengers 2,’ Fox and Disney to swap characters?

Will Perkins
Wide Screen
August 8, 2012

There's never a dull moment when it comes to comic book movies, particularly films involving Marvel's impressive stable of superheroes and heroines.

The comic publisher turned movie powerhouse has been in the news quite a bit this week, first by re-signing "Avengers" director Joss Whedon for a sequel to the super-powered ensemble, and then for reportedly wheeling and dealing with Twentieth Century Fox over Daredevil and Fantastic Four characters.

In a statement released yesterday, Marvel confirmed that they have locked the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" creator in to direct "The Avengers 2," and also to help develop a new live-action TV series based in the Marvel universe for the Disney-owned ABC. Although Whedon was rumoured to be hesitant to a return to the franchise, he and Marvel seem to have come to terms.

See also: Scarlett Johansson's $20 million 'Avengers 2' payday?

Bringing Whedon back for the sequel is a wise move on Marvel's part, as the massive success of the film (some $1.46 billion in box office receipts to date) is primarily due to his solid writing and direction. Marvel did not release any details about the planned Marvel TV series, but given Whedon's long career in television, he's likely the best person for the job.

In other Marvel movie news, there are conflicting reports about what's happening with Fox's planned "Daredevil." With the recent exit of director David Slade ("Twilight Saga: Eclipse"), Fox has been scrambling to get "Daredevil" into production before an Oct. 10 deadline — the date when the film rights for the superhero revert to their original owners, Marvel.

Variety chimed in on Monday saying that Marvel and Fox had been holding meetings to extend that deadline so that they could move ahead with filmmaker Joe Carnahan's vision for the character. The "A-Team" director recently pitched a more hard-boiled take on the visually impaired superhero in the vein of Frank Miller's "Sin City" comics. Marvel is reportedly willing to extend the deadline in exchange for two other characters that Fox owns the rights to: the cosmic harbinger Silver Surfer and his planet-eating master Galactus.

See also: 'Fantastic 4' lands director, 'Daredevil' loses director

The two characters belong to the "Fantastic Four" universe and appeared in their most recent film, "Rise of the Silver Surfer." It would be a big trade-off for Fox: the loss of Silver Surfer and Galactus to Marvel would mean they could get "Daredevil" made, but it might also throw a wrench into their planned reboot of "Fantastic Four" to be helmed by "Chronicle" director Josh Trank.

Deadline added even more intrigue to the story by refuting Variety's claims yesterday, citing sources at Fox that said the studio would be willing to let Daredevil revert to Marvel if it meant holding onto the two key "Fantastic Four" characters.

So the "Daredevil" reboot may or may not be happening, and Marvel/Disney may or may not have won back Silver Surfer and Galactus from Fox. Either way, the latter studio is in quite the pinch, and likely right where Marvel wants them to be. What characters will the comic book publisher bring back into their movie fold next?

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