Bond 26 questions: The Henry Cavill edition

Henry Cavill

It turns out that Henry Cavill isn’t playing Superman anymore. The actor has quit The Witcher streaming show on Netflix. So does Cavill re-enter the picture to play James Bond in Bond 26?

Naturally, the blog has questions.

Is Cavill back in the picture?

I wouldn’t go banco on that.

Much has been made how Cavill, now 39, was in contention to play Bond for Casino Royale back when he was in his early 20s.

However, we know that Eon boss Barbara Broccoli was always keen on Daniel Craig playing Bond. While there were screen tests of other actors (including Cavill), they were stalking horses to show Sony/Columbia (which would release Casino Royale) that it wasn’t a one-horse race. Except, it was a one-horse race from almost the beginning.

What about the Pierce Brosnan precedent? Eon *had* signed Brosnan in the 1980s to play Bond. But the actor’s ties to the Remington Steele TV show got in the way when NBC renewed the series at the last minute. Eon would bring Brosnan back to play Bond for GoldenEye (1995).

Eon *has never* shown that level of commitment to Cavill.

Are you skeptical that Cavill had a chance this time?

Yes.

A few years ago, the conventional wisdom was Eon wouldn’t go back to Cavill because he had played Superman and appeared in spy movies (The Man From U.N.C.L.E. in 2015 and Mission: Impossible Fallout in 2018).

Now, it could be updated by saying Cavill is damaged goods by Warner Bros. rejecting him participating in future Superman movies. And don’t forget The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie had modest box office.

Lately, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson of Eon have talked about how a future Bond actor should be younger. Then again, Daniel Craig was 37 when cast and his first Bond movie came out when he was 38.

As usual, we’ll see.

Cavill out as Superman, DC, actor announce

Henry Cavill leaves Superman role

Henry Cavill no longer is the Man of Steel, DC/Warner Bros. said, with the actor confirming the news.

James Gunn, co-head of Warner Bros. DC Films, said on Twitter that he’s writing a new Superman film “focusing on an earlier part of Superman’s life, so the character will not be played by Henry Cavill.”

Cavill, 39, had a cameo as Superman in the recent Black Adam movie and the actor then made a public announcement he was back.

Cavill said on Instagram he had been told by the studio to make the announcement in October. Then Gunn and his fellow co-head, Peter Safran, took command of DC Films effective Nov. 1. Cavill said he was told by Gunn and Safran a change was underway.

“The changing of the guard is something that happens,” Cavill said.

Gunn said in another tweet that he and Safran “had a great meeting with Henry and we’re big fans and we talked about a number of exciting possibilities to work together in the future.”

The Hollywood Reporter said earlier this month that Cavill’s return as Superman was in doubt. Gunn, who directed Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy movies, and Safran are revamping the DC film universe.

Cavill ends his run as Superman with only one solo movie (Man of Steel in 2013) plus two other films (Batman v. Superman and Justice League) where he shared screen time with other characters. Cavill was passed over to play James Bond in the 2000s in favor of Daniel Craig for Casino Royale. And he recently quit The Witcher streaming TV show on Netflix.

Cavill back as Superman? Not so fast, THR says

Henry Cavill in Batman v Superman

Henry Cavill returning as Superman? The Hollywood Reporter, in a story about a potential big shakeup of Warner Bros./DC Comics movies, says Cavill may be out again.

THR also said a third Wonder Woman movie with Gal Gadot has been shut down and Jason Momoa’s time as Aquaman may be nearing the end.

Cavill made a cameo in the recent Black Adam movie with Dwayne Johnson and said on social media that he was back as the Man of Steel.

THR, citing people it didn’t identify, said the new bosses of DC films, James Gunn and Peter Safran, are drafting a new plan and it may not include Cavill after all. Gunn and Safran “are expected to meet next week with David Zaslav, the Warner Bros. Discovery CEO who is radically reshaping the media company,” the entertainment news outlet said.

Cavill has had, at best, mixed luck with entertainment franchises.

The actor was in his early 20s when he was passed over for the role of James Bond in favor of Daniel Craig. Now, at 39, he may on the verge of aging out. Michael G. Wilson of Eon Productions has said the next Bond actor may be a “thirty-something.”

In the 2010s, Cavill won the role of Superman. But he only got one solo movie (Man of Steel in 2013) plus two other movies (Batman v. Superman and Justice League) where he shared screen time with other characters.

Cavill was cast in 2015’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E. but that was one and done. The actor was in the streaming Netflix TV show The Witcher, but he departed that role.

One of Marvel’s oldest characters makes his movie debut

Wally Wood’s cover for Daredevil No. 7 in 1965 with DD taking on Namor, a much more powerful foe

Wakanda Forever had a big opening this past weekend. The Marvel film was a sequel to 2018’s Black Panther. But with the death of actor Chadwick Boseman, major changes were made.

Still, Marvel used Wakanda Forever as a way to introduce Namor (Roman spelled backward), the Sub-Mariner to its cinematic universe.

Namor’s first appearance was in Marvel Comics No. 1 in 1939, published by Timely, a predecessor company of Marvel Comics. Namor was an antihero. He dwelled underwater and casually killed some divers from the surface world in the first story by writer-artist Bill Everett. He was part of an underwater race.

Over the next several years, Namor became an ally against the Germans in World War II. Eventually, Namor went away.

Until the 1960s, that is. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, early in the run of the Fantastic Four, brought Namor back. The character was wandering the New York City bowery, unable to remember who he was. But with his memory restored, Namor resumed his conflict with the surface world. Namor soon appeared in various Marvel titles. By the mid-1960s, he got his own story line in Tales to Astonish (a title he shared with the Hulk).

In Wakanda Forever, some changes have been made to Namor. It remains to be seen whether he’ll continue to be part of the MCU. Meanwhile, The New York Times provided a primer about Namor.

Kevin Conroy, voice of Batman in cartoons, dies

Logo for Batman: The Animated Series

Kevin Conroy, who became the voice of Bruce Wayne and Batman starting in 1992 with Batman: The Animated Series, died this week at 66, according to multiple media reports.

Here is an excerpt from the website of CBS:

The actor voiced the caped crusader in “Batman: The Animated Series,” which aired 85 episodes from 1992 to 1996 and in several DC animated movies and video games. In total, he brought the character to life in more than 60 projects. 

In 2019, he performed a live-action version of the role for the first time, appearing on the CW’s television event “Crisis on Infinite Earths” as a future version of Bruce Wayne.

CBS added this detail:

Conroy was the first and only openly gay actor to play Batman. In June 2022, Conroy wrote a comic called “Finding Batman” for DC Pride, where he reflected on his experience voicing the character while coming to terms with his sexuality. In a Twitter video shared shortly after the comic was published, Conroy thanked fans for their “overwhelming” support. 

Batman: The Animated Series ranks as one of the best — if not the best — adaptations of Batman. Conroy’s voice work was one of the reasons.

The show also adapted certain Batman comic stories, providing the writers of those stories credit. Batman: The Animated Series featured high production values and attracted actors such as Edward Asner, Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (as Alfred), Mark Hamill (as The Joker), John Vernon, Paul Williams (as the Penguin), and others. Adam West, star of the 1966-68 live-action Batman television show, also was a voice actor on Batman: The Animated Series.

Paul Dini, part of the production team, put out this tweet:

Henry Cavill says he’s back as Superman

Henry Cavill as Superman in Batman v Superman

Henry Cavill, 39, says he is coming back as Superman after reports in 2018 he was being forced out of the role.

Here is an excerpt from an Oct. 24 story in Variety:

Henry Cavill posted to social media on Monday that he is “back as Superman” following his cameo in the post-credits scene of “Black Adam,” which opened on Friday to $140 million worldwide.

“I wanted to wait until the weekend was over before posting this because I wanted to give you all a chance to watch ‘Black Adam,’” Cavill said in a video posted to his Instagram feed. “But now that plenty of you have, I wanted to make it official: I am back as Superman.”

Cavill, once upon a time (circa 2005), was a contender to play James Bond in 2006’s Casino Royale. He received a screen test before Daniel Craig was hired.

The actor has been favored by some Bond fans to succeed Craig. He played Napoleon Solo in a 2015 movie version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. as well as playing a villain in a 2018 Tom Cruise Mission: Impossible film.

Cavill probably is too old to be the new Bond. Also, Eon Productions (mostly) doesn’t like to cast actors associated with other franchises. Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan were the most obvious exceptions.

For a time, it seemed Cavill had lost the Superman gig — which included a 2013 solo Superman movie as well as 2016’s Batman vs. Superman and 2017’s Justice League.

Never say never, it would appear.

Tom Palmer, ace Marvel inker, dies

Images from a Daredevil issue inked by Tom Palmer over Gene Colan pencils, with Stan Lee (and his wife Joan) making a cameo (courtesy of writer Gerry Conway).

Tom Palmer, one of the best artists for Marvel Comics, has died at 81, according to the Comicbook.com website.

At Marvel, Palmer inked the pencils of Gene Colan, John Buscema and Neal Adams, among others.

With comic books, penciling and inking is often done by different artists to speed up the work. A great inker makes the pencils better. A bad inker makes the art worse.

By most accounts, Palmer was among Marvel’s best inkers. Palmer’s work with Colan included titles such as Daredevil, Dr. Strange and Dracula, which covered stories across very different genres.

Palmer’s death was first announced on his Facebook page. The artist died on Aug. 18.

This year is shaping up as a tough one for fans of comic books. Previously, Neal Adams and George Perez died.

MCU treads water (?) with new Thor film

Thor Love and Thunder poster

Through 2019, the Marvel Cinematic University seemed invincible. Avengers: Endgame was a huge hit, a big conclusion to 11 years of Marvel films.

Since then, Marvel hasn’t had that kind of hit (almost $2.8 billion at the box office). Former Marvel stars Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans took their final bows.

Marvel’s “Phase Four” has been more of a mixed bag. It hasn’t been helped by a pandemic that affected theater attendance.

Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, released earlier this year, has generated global box office of more than $953 million. That’s serious money. But the movie started out strong and tailed off. Marvel also has to provide shows for parent company Walt Disney Co.’s Disney + streaming service.

Meanwhile, Paramount’s Top Gun: Maverick has run up a global tally $1.13 billion.

This weekend, Marvel’s latest movie, Thor Love and Thunder, debuted. Its opening U.S. weekend was an estimated $143 million. That’s more than respectable but not at the levels Marvel is used to achieving. This year’s Dr. Strange movie had an opening of $187.4 million.

Also, Thor stars Chris Hemsworth. Both character and actor are holdovers from earlier Marvel films. Both Thor and Hemsworth were part of four successful Avengers movies in addition to three previous Thor films.

Is Marvel treading water these days? A lot of movies would love to get Thor-level money. In the U.S., No Time to Die, the most recent James Bond film, had an opening weekend of $55.2 million and an overall U.S. take of almost $161 million.

Still, while getting to the top is hard, staying there can be harder.

Happy Independence Day 2022

Our annual post.

Jim Steranko’s cover to Strange Tales 167

Today, July 4, is Independence Day in the United States.

For this blog, there’s no better image to celebrate the holiday than this Jim Steranko cover from Strange Tales No. 167, published in January 1968. The issue was the climax to a months-long saga that Steranko wrote and drew featuring the intrepid Nick Fury and the forces of SHIELD.

In 2022, there is a lot of division on many political and social issues. But Steranko’s image remains iconic.

For more background, CLICK HERE for a 2000 article that originally appeared on the Her Majesty’s Secret Servant website. Happy July Fourth to everyone.

Oswald the Rabbit makes his (sort of) MCU debut

Oswald the Rabbit, created by Walt Disney, circa 1927

Oswald the Rabbit, a character created by Walt Disney before Mickey Mouse, made his sort-of Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

It takes a bit of explaining. Let’s just say Oswald is shown on a television screen being watched by the imaginary kids of Wanda, the Scarlet Witch. There’s a later scene where the kids are watching the 1930s Disney version of Snow White.

Oswald (also known as Oswald, the Lucky Rabbit) originally was created in 1927 for Universal.

For decades, Disney (the company) wanted to get the rights to Oswald back. In the 2000s, Disney and Universal negotiated a swap: Universal would grant Disney the rights to Oswald. Universal (whose properties include the U.S. network NBC) would gain the services of sportscaster Al Michaels so the latter could work on NBC’s Sunday Night Football. (Early in Michaels’ career, he had a bit part in an episode of Hawaii Five-O.)

Yes, a cartoon character was swapped for the services of a human being. You can CLICK HERE for an account of the trade.

That’s how big business operates. Michaels this past season finished up his Sunday Night Football contract.