The Marvel Studios news engine still has some steam left as the year comes to a close. As a sign of the power of social media (and how corporations are aware of it), both of today’s (December 29th) news items come from Facebook. The first is a new cover photo from actor Vin Diesel posting a cover photo for his official Facebook page which has him posing before the phrase “Are you Inhuman”? Meanwhile, Comic Book Movie.com posted a clearer image of an “Ant-Man” movie poster image that had been posted on Facebook, revealing not only the title hero, but the new look for his nemesis, Yellowjacket.
Vin Diesel has quickly become one of the biggest action stars of this current era thanks to his presence in the “Fast & Furious” film series. Having voiced Groot in “Guardians of the Galaxy”, he was also a part of one of the biggest Marvel Studios films of the year (if not since 2008). Rumors of an “Inhumans” film have circulated online for years, at least since 2011-2012. In October, the release date for such a film was stated as November 2nd, 2018. Their presence within the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” (the continuity shared between all of the Marvel Studios films since 2008’s “Iron Man” as well as TV shows such as “Agents of SHIELD” and “Agent Carter”) cannot be understated. As a secretive subset of humanity who have access to super powers due to experimentation by aliens when humanity first evolved, they fill a role extremely similar to that of mutants within the Marvel Universe. Disney’s rival, Fox Studios, has owned the film licenses to mutants, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four (where the Inhumans debuted in 1965) since the late 1990’s. A Marvel universe without mutants is a very different universe, yet “Guardians of the Galaxy” has only showcased the fondness that Marvel and Disney have for space characters and franchises. The Inhumans are a franchise which are still owned by Marvel Entertainment and Disney which combine the allure of both mutants (a secret subset of humanity in which anyone could be one of them and a small band fight in a world that fears and misunderstands them) and space (due to their origins involving aliens). It is extremely probable that Vin Diesel will have some role in “Inhumans” come 2018; voicing Groot is hardly a full time job, and by then he may be done with “Fast & Furious” films. Having him headline the royal family of Inhumans as the patriarch Black Bolt could make for easy casting, although he could also be solid as the rough and tumble Gorgon.
Elsewhere, the much beleaguered “Ant-Man” film – which went through a change of director, several re-writes, a pre-production period of six years and a changed release date – is coming along sooner for a July 17th, 2015 debut. The upcoming poster reveals not only another look at the suit Paul Rudd will wear as Scott Lang/Ant-Man, but the costume that Corey Stoll (“Salt”, “Non-Stop”, “House of Cards”) will don as Darren Cross/Yellowjacket. Darren Cross was a minor villain created by David Micheline and John Bryne in 1979’s “Marvel Premiere #47”, which was one of Scott Lang’s first outings as the second Ant-Man. In the comics he gained super powers but never as Yellowjacket; in that comics, that identity was associated with Hank Pym at his most insane. The film will also star Michael Douglas as the retired Hank Pym, and Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne (the daughter of original founding Avenger Wasp, who may or may not appear in cinema). The audience for this is minimal, but it seems to be a sign that Marvel Studios genuinely believes they can make a film about any franchise and succeed.