Geekwatch: Guillermo del Toro special
Welcome back to Geekwatch, your nerd’s eye view of the week’s entertainment news. There’s a distinct Mexican flavour to our latest issue; in fact it’s something of a Guillermo del Toro special as the onetime Hellboy helmer has seemingly been at the centre of almost every major story of the latest week in geek.
Toro sheds some light on DC’s Dark Universe
We already knew that Warner Bros. was forging ahead with their plans to bring the Justice League of America to the silver screen. But if Guillermo del Toro is to be believed, the studio’s plans for DC’s stable of characters don’t stop there.
Whilst promoting Mama, a Spanish supernatural thriller he’s produced, del Toro revealed that plans are already well underway to bring together some of the comic book publisher’s more obscure characters in a project called Dark Universe. Those characters include the likes of Swamp Thing, Constantine, The Spectre and Zatanna; magical and mystical heroes who exist on the periphery of the DC Universe.
The project is still very much in its early stages with del Toro currently writing an outline of the potential story with an as of yet unnamed writer being approached to produce a script. However, if the director’s comments this week are anything to go b,y it’s very much a case of full steam ahead in terms of development.
"Yeah, yeah, we're doing it," he told IGN. "I'm working on the outline and we're in talks with a writer - a very, very good writer. He accepted.”
The director also suggested it was the strength of Zack Snyder’s upcoming Superman reboot, rather than the blockbuster performance of Marvel’s Avengers that had helped to give the project the green light.
"The movement for this happened before [Avengers] even," he said. "They were already galvanised to launch Justice League and make their universe cohesive. What I feel now is they're really, with Superman, very confident. They have two pillars - Batman and Superman - they have a darker tone. An urban and sophisticated tone."
First things first, it’s great to hear such excited murmurings coming out about Man of Steel. The much-anticipated Superman reboot is sure to be one of this year’s hottest films and if all of the buzz coming out of Warner Bros. is to be believed it’s going to live up to sky-high expectations the fanboy fraternity already has for it.
Dark Universe however is an interesting move. There’s certainly a market for supernatural comic book movies, something del Toro himself proved with Hellboy; whilst superhero team-ups are sure to be a common occurrence at the multiplex after the $1billion plus success of The Avengers. Whether mainstream audiences are ready for it or not is a different question entirely. But for what it’s I think that geeks the world over would welcome the project with open arms, especially as it offers an opportunity to see how perennially underrated characters like Zatanna play out on the silver screen
It’s early days of course, but for now you can consider our appetite firmly whetted.
More from Mexico’s favourite moviemaker
Dark Universe isn’t the only titbit being teased by del Toro over the past seven days. In fact the director has been at the centre of a slew of geeky reveals that he’s been firing off in interviews over the past week. Perhaps the biggest of these is that he turned down the opportunity to direct the upcoming Star Wars sequel.
"We got one phone call to my agent saying, 'Is Guillermo interested?" he told The Playlist. “And basically I have so much stuff already of my own, and I'm pursuing stuff that I'm generating already..."
It’s true that del Toro has something of a packed dance card at the moment with the likes of Pacific Rim, a secretive sci-fi project entitled 1952 and the much-mooted Mountains of Madness on his to-do list. But it’s hard to see how any director, particularly one who’s been away from the limelight in recent years, could turn down a project like Star Wars? Maybe that’s just the fanboy in me talking, but if Skywalker and co come a knocking surely you answer their call.
Perhaps then, and this is pure speculation, it says something about the appeal of the upcoming Star Wars sequel. After all del Toro isn’t the first big name to politely back away from the project which perhaps speaks volumes about the pressures of working on such a high profile movie or perhaps the direction that the House of Mouse plans to take it in.
more Del Toro news…
In case announcements about Star Wars and the DC universe didn’t quite hit the mark, Del Toro has completed the geeky trifecta this week by dropping hints about his proposed Incredible Hulk TV series.
In the rush of comic book related announcements in recent months it’s been easy to forget about the project, which would see the Mexican director bring the gamma radiated green giant to the small screen. After all we haven’t heard a peep out of Marvel in months; but we’re not the only ones it seems.
“I met with Jeph Loeb after ‘Avengers,’ but after that meeting, there’s been complete radio silence on the show. It’s very frustrating for me and for the fans that we don’t know” del Toro told MTV. “I haven’t heard anything in months about the show, but obviously ‘Avengers’ is a game-changer for Marvel. It’s their property, and if I don’t make it, at least I’ll watch it.”
Given the success of Mark Ruffalo’s interpretation of the character in The Avengers it’s hardly surprising that Marvel is reticent to let him loose on the idiot box. There’s also the small matter of the Joss Whedon scripted S.H.I.E.L.D series that’s currently being developed for ABC, a project which almost certainly takes priority over Del Toro’s Hulk.
It’s an understandable decision from a business perspective, but a shame for fans. After all it would be great to see Guillermo del Toro’s take on the green-tinged man monster.
Get ready for an all-new Transformers trilogy
Finally in film news that has absolutely nothing to do with Guillermo del Toro, slow mo explosives expert and sometime director Michael Bay has announced that newcomer Jack Raynor will be the man starring opposite Mark Wahlberg in Transformers 4.
The Irish actor is a fresh face in Hollywood but Bay has described him as “the real deal”, and though there’s no news on what part he’ll play in the finished film, it’s easy to see him stepping into Shia LaBeouf’s shoes whilst Mark Wahlberg takes on the role previously played by Josh Duhamel.
Whilst making his announcement Bay also teased how Transformers 4, which is set for cinemas in 2014, will fit with the previous trilogy:
“Transformers 4, is not a reboot.” He said in a statement. “That word has been floating around on the net. This movie takes place exactly 4 years after the war in Chicago. The story makes a very natural transition, and reason as to why we have a whole new cast. This Transformers will feel very different than the last three. We are embarking on a new trilogy.
Yes, you read right, the fourth instalment of the Autobot vs. Decepticon destruction derby is not the death throes of a franchise that’s well best it’s best, but a whole new opportunity to flog a cinematic dead horse over the course of three movies. Yey!
Do you think that del Toro would be a good fit for Star Wars? What do you think of del Toro’s plans for Dark Universe? And are you excited about another three Transformers movies? Let us know your thoughts on the week in geek in the comments section below.