MarvelBlog News for November 29th, 2021
Happy Spider Monday!
Hawkeye has debuted on Disney+, Blade has cast a new role, and two Marvel productions are on hold.
Let’s talk it through in this week’s MarvelBlog News.
The Hawkeye Update
When I recapped the first two episodes of Hawkeye, one of my statements involved my perception. I viewed those works as a single standalone movie.
Appropriately, the executive producer of this project, Trinh Tran, just said as much. Actually, what she discussed is why Hawkeye couldn’t be a movie.
After all, that was the original plan for the project. Black Widow and Hawkeye, the non-powered Avengers, would receive standalone movies after Avengers: Endgame.
Alas, the ideas Marvel had for Hawkeye proved too grandiose in scale to squeeze into a movie. So, Disney+ became the lucky recipient of this project.
Marvel needed those extra four episodes to introduce Kate Bishop and connect her to Clint Barton.
Also, another new character is in play. We meet an unnamed woman at the end of the second episode.
Any comic book reader would instantly identify this person as Maya Lopez, a superheroine named Echo.
Eventually, Lopez will gain her own series, although possibly not as fast as we’d expected. I’ll explain that in the next section.
Anyway, with two episodes out in the wild, Marvel’s famously tight-lipped producers have opened up about some of the ideas here.
Notably, a strong inspiration for Hawkeye was Better Call Saul, the Breaking Bad prequel whose current villain, Tony Dalton, appears as Jack Duquesne.
One of the writers from Better Call Saul, Marion Dayre, will head Echo’s spinoff series. So, Marvel’s reverence for the show is evident.
With Hawkeye, the Marvel Studios Parliament – I swear that’s a real thing – decided that the show needed a lighter touch to contrast it against other MCU series.
For this reason, the Die Hard holiday vibe became a reality. Clint Barton hasn’t spent the holidays with his family in six years due to The Snap.
So, his struggles are relatable and charming.
The Production Delays
I mentioned this in passing a couple of weeks ago, but it’s become a more significant thing now.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is on hold. The production couldn’t continue due to an injury to its ostensible lead, Letitia Wright.
While nobody is sure who will become the successor to T’Challa, his sister, Shuri, seems like a safe bet.
Unfortunately, Wright suffered a fall during an action sequence. At the time, everyone downplayed the injury as insignificant.
We’ve since learned that the actress fractured her shoulder and experienced a concussion. Both these issues have understandably prevented her from working.
Marvel delayed production until January, the first time when Wright’s doctors believe she could safely work again.
However, we have a special effects backlog in Hollywood that creates secondary problems for Marvel.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever may not make its current release date of November 11th, 2022.
Yes, that’s still more than a year away, but CGI takes a lot of time. Early rumors suggest that Atlantis will play heavily into the story.
So, that’s a lot of water CGI, which is even worse. As a Pixar animator once said, the hardest things to create digitally are water and hair.
As part of the delay into the first quarter of 2022, the Black Panther sequel creates a ripple effect.
Echo had listed a January/February start date for the standalone series. Well, that’s in doubt. In fact, it appears unlikely at the moment.
I’ll obviously update you more on this story, but Echo probably won’t launch until 2023 now. That’s later than Marvel had planned.
Kevin Feige and the show’s producers released a statement to the production crew about the delay. Deadline got a copy and published it.
Here’s what they said:
“As we wind down for the holidays, we wanted to send a note of thanks and appreciation for the hard work of our entire cast and crew, as well as an update on timing.
First and foremost, this project is exceptional and something we know audiences are eager to see.
We could not be any more excited to complete this film and share it with the world next year.
Thank you for everything you’ve done to get us to this place.
Unfortunately, we’ve not gotten here without a few setbacks.
Running a production of this scale in the midst of a pandemic is not an easy task, and you have remained diligent and professional throughout.
In addition, as you are all aware, Letitia had a frightening accident on our set during a stunt back in August.
It was a reminder of the importance of safety at all times in our work, which we know you understand and are committed to.
What we had initially thought were minor injuries turned out to be much more serious with Letitia suffering a critical shoulder fracture, and a concussion with severe side effects.
It has been a painful process, and Letitia has been home recovering with her doctors and the support of family.
We’ve adjusted our production schedule so she has the time she needs to heal, but there’s only so much we can do without Shuri!
We also want to thank Letitia for everything she’s doing to get back to the set – we know how much she loves this role, how tough it’s been for her to be away, and how hard she’s working to recover as quickly as she safely can.
We are eagerly awaiting her return and we know we will all come back stronger together.
Please be on the lookout for more information on your specific return-to-work date. As of now, we’re on schedule to resume filming – with Letitia – in January 2022. We are all focused on finishing the movie with excellence, honoring the memory of our dear brother Chadwick in the process.
We are thrilled to share Black Panther: Wakanda Forever with the world, confident that the challenges that we have overcome together as a team will make the film even more impactful.
Please take care of yourselves and enjoy the holidays.
-Kevin, Louis & Nate”
One Final Casting Item
I’m trying to keep this week’s update brief due to the holidays. Still, I’d be remiss if I failed to mention one notable casting update.
Delroy Lindo has joined the cast of Blade. With all due respect to Mahershala Ali, whom I have always loved, he’s now the second-best actor in the film.
One of the most extraordinary movie-going experiences of my life was seeing Get Shorty in theaters and admiring the villain, the man with the pink toilets.
Yes, that was Delroy Lindo as Bo Catlett, and it was far from his first star turn during the 1990s, just my favorite.
Lindo’s one of the greatest living actors, most recently working with Chadwick Boseman in Da Five Bloods. He’s also one of the stars of The Good Fight.
As a reminder, Ali has won two Academy Awards. Meanwhile, Lindo is one of the most accredited actors alive today.
On paper, Blade is shaping up to be a dream project.