Captain America Eyes the Silver Screen

Posted on September 7, 2005

E! reports that Marvel Entertainment is planning on producing up to 10 new films based on 10 characters from its comic books. So which characters are slated to get a live action feature film treatment? So far, it looks like Captain America, Black Panther and the Avengers are in the lucky group. The first film is due out in summer 2008, but so far no one's saying which superhero will be first in the next batch of films.

"No character before its time," Avi Arad, chairman and CEO of Marvel Studios, told the Hollywood Reporter. "The scripts will dictate which is first."

The other characters jockeying for position: Nick Fury, the one-eyed agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.; Ant-Man, the ant-sized avenger from Coral Gables, Florida; Cloak and Dagger, a pair of vigilante teenagers; Doctor Strange, a neurosurgeon turned sorcerer previously immortalized in a 1978 made-for-TV movie; Hawkeye, a mere mortal with a costume and spot-on archery skills; Power Pack, a sort of kid-centric Fantastic Four; and Shang-Chi, a kung-fu fighting master.

There's nothing new in Marvel product becoming movie product. Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Hulk, Daredevil, Elektra, the Fantastic Four and Blade all hail from the comics giant, and all have recent big-screen credits. Next year will bring more Marvel releases: Ghost Rider, The Punisher II and X-Men 3.

What's new is the amount of control Marvel will exert over its legion of heroes--no small thing for a company that has wrangled in the past with producing partners. In the new set-up for the 10-picture slate, Marvel will set the budgets (approximately $165 million), secure prime release dates (the summer or winter holiday seasons) and keep the kitty from all film-related merchandising.

The hints dropped by Avi Arad seem to indicate that Captain America will be next. Let the casting debates begin....

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