Aug. 01, 2014 | 11:45 a.m.
Rarely is there an upside for an actor to have his character killed off one of the most popular series on television. But when Michael Rooker received the news that his role as Merle Dixon on AMC’s hit zombie series “The Walking Dead” was coming to an end, he took some comfort in knowing that another opportunity was waiting in the wings. The popular character actor has a pivotal role in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” Marvel’s epic space adventure that arrives in theaters Friday, playing Yondu, a bandit who is something of a mentor to Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star-Lord. “Yondu is a responder, he’s a doer,” Rooker said recently. “He’s the leader of a group of interstellar piracy-type guys and a very paternal figure for Peter Quill. He’s his kid pretty much and he taught him how to […]
July 30, 2014 | 3:53 p.m.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” takes audiences on a cosmic carpet ride into the farthest reaches of the Marvel universe, with its story of an unlikely team of interstellar heroes who band together to stop a supervillain from achieving his genocidal aims. But for Zoe Saldana, who plays the resourceful assassin Gamora — known in comic book lore as the most dangerous woman in the galaxy — the role was one rooted in earthbound inspiration. The former dancer developed the character’s physicality after watching footage of a bullfighter and deciding that she should move gracefully, with elegant precision. Grappling with the trauma of Gamora’s past, however, led Saldana in another direction. The green-skinned alien is the last surviving member of her race, an orphan who was trained to be lethal by her adopted father Thanos (Josh Brolin), and her plight reminded […]
July 29, 2014 | 4:55 p.m.
When Dave Bautista took the stage at Marvel’s Comic-Con International panel in San Diego last year, he was overcome by emotion sitting beside his “Guardians of the Galaxy” cast mates. The film had only begun shooting, but when the former champion WWE wrestler talked about winning the role of Drax the Destroyer in the interstellar adventure, he appeared overwhelmed. “There’s a point where I go to set every day and I still can’t freaking believe I got this job,” he said at the time. “It’s something that I wanted more than anything I ever wanted in my life. When I got it, I broke down and cried like a little baby.” One year later, Bautista, 45, seems just as moved when he thinks back to being cast in “Guardians,” which blasts into theaters Friday as the first installment in Marvel’s […]
July 29, 2014 | 3:05 p.m.
Paolo Rivera won two Eisner Awards for his lush work on Marvel’s “Daredevil,” but he hasn’t produced regular interior art since leaving that title in 2012. This October, he returns to monthly comics with “The Valiant,” a new miniseries written by Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt. Uniting Valiant Comics’ superhero characters against a threat that has evolved through time, this project gives Rivera freedom to stretch his creative muscles in a fledgling comic-book universe, and early preview pages and concept designs promise all the detail and dynamism of his work at Marvel. Born and raised in Daytona Beach, Fla., Rivera was introduced to comic books by his father, Joe Rivera, a painter of custom motorcycles who kept assorted issues around the house. “I grew up in Florida not too far from Disney,” Rivera says. “I was a kid who could […]
July 28, 2014 | 8:00 a.m.
Who is the most important person in Marvel Comics history? Several audience members responded to Mark Waid’s question by shouting back “Stan Lee!” No, the Eisner Award-winning “Daredevil” writer told the crowd gathered for a panel about Marvel’s 75th and the Man Without Fear’s 50th anniversaries. But they were close: It’s Lee’s wife Joanie, Waid said. In 1961, Lee “was starting to feel burned out” after 20 years and about 10,000 issues of various genre stories under the direction of publisher Martin Goodman, said Waid, an expert on comics history, and was looking to do something else with his life. “It was his wife Joanie,” Waid continued, “who said … ‘If you’re done with comics and go away and do something else, at least take one last shot and do something that you really want to do… And if it […]
July 28, 2014 | 6:00 a.m.
If Hollywood seemed a tad quieter than normal this past weekend, there was a good reason: Like moths to a porch light — or Batman to the Bat Signal — film and television creators, executives and stars were drawn en masse to downtown San Diego in an effort to drum up excitement for their upcoming wares at the annual Comic-Con International pop-culture expo. The unveiling of the first footage from the highly anticipated superhero mash-up “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and an extended early glimpse at “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” may have sent the biggest reverberations through the four-day film, television, video-game and comic-book fest. But there was plenty of other news to stir the excitement of the 130,000 or so convention-goers who descended upon the San Diego Convention Center, many decked out in costume, to watch exclusive […]
July 26, 2014 | 7:59 p.m.
Marvel is famous for its Saturday Comic-Con International panel, and this year, the comic book studio didn’t disappoint — confirming that “Guardians of the Galaxy 2″ will open on July 28, 2017, and debuting new footage from Joss Whedon’s highly anticipated 2015 release, “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Represented on stage by movies guru Kevin Feige, Marvel brought out the members of its sprawling A-list “Avengers” cast — Robert Downey Jr., Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Cobie Smulders, Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Evans, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Paul Bettany, James Spader and Elizabeth Olsen to wild applause (the crowd in the 6,500 seat Hall H had been chanting “Marvel” and doing the wave, rock concert-style, before the session even began). (If you’d prefer not to know anything about the “Avengers” sequel, this might be a good time to stop reading.) Although writer-director […]
July 26, 2014 | 4:27 p.m.
Marvel is launching back into “Star Wars” comics with major creative Force, with three series – a core title, plus a Darth Vader ongoing and a Princess Leia miniseries — rolling out in January, February and March. Writer Jason Aaron (“Thor, God of Thunder”) and John Cassaday (“Astonishing X-Men”), who Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada introduced to the “Cup o’ Joe” Comic-Con International panel Saturday afternoon as “Jedis,” will pick up the story right after the original film in January’s “Star Wars” No. 1, an ongoing monthly series. “As far as I’m concerned it’s 1977, and we’ve just been hired to produce the direct sequel to that original movie,” Aaron said. “I want everybody here who reads this book to feel like I felt when I was a kid and first met these characters … I want you to […]
July 25, 2014 | 5:53 p.m.
Marvel head of television Jeph Loeb might not have been able to shed much light on the future plot lines of Marvel’s two ABC series “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and “Agent Carter” — the studio really relies on its narrative surprises — but he did reveal some key cast and directors on Marvel TV’s Comic-Con International panel on Friday. Loeb confirmed that Lucy Lawless will join the cast of “S.H.I.E.L.D.” in the show’s second season as a tough, knife-wielding longtime veteran named Isabelle Hartley. She’ll be joined by a young English actor named Nick Blood (yes, it’s his real name) as the mercenary Lance Hunter, known to comics fans as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s British counterpart, S.T.R.I.K.E. The third new cast member is Reed Diamond, who will play Hydra villain Daniel Whitehall. Additionally, guest star Patton Oswalt appeared in character as […]
July 25, 2014 | 4:56 p.m.
Marvel might have found its Stephen Strange. Oscar-nominated actor Joaquin Phoenix is in negotiations to star in the upcoming Marvel project, part of the studio’s phase three roster of comic book blockbusters, which will be written and directed by Scott Derrickson (“Deliver Us From Evil,” “Sinister”). Phoenix, whose lengthy resume includes lauded turns in “Gladiator,” “Walk the Line” and “The Master,” was most recently seen on-screen in James Gray’s drama “The Immigrant,” and Spike Jonze’s futuristic love story, “Her.” “Doctor Strange” will bring to the screen Stephen Strange, the former neurosurgeon turned Sorcerer Supreme who is the Marvel Universe’s greatest protector against magical peril – and one of his fellow superheroes’ most sought after advisors. First appearing in a Stan Lee-written and Steve Ditko-drawn story in “Strange Tales” No. 110 in 1963, the brilliant magician has fought such foes as […]