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Marvel Comics news: "X-Men: Days of Future Past", Fan Four rumors, and "Ant-Man"

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The latest batch of Marvel Comics related news items from January 25th - 27th, 2014!

"Empire" magazine covers "X-Men: Days of Future Past"!

Now that the second month of 2014 is almost upon us, the promotional machine has been unleashed by Fox Studios to promote the next film of their X-Men licensed series. The latest film in the series is being directed/co-produced by Bryan Singer (Fox's "usual suspect" in regards to directing or co-producing these films since 2000) debuts in theaters on May 23rd and "Empire" unleashed a whopping eighteen different covers featuring many of the characters of the film, including a look at a robotic Sentinel and the director himself.

In addition to a first look at the Sentinels (which were glimpsed in "X-Men 3" but have yet to be appear full force), the covers also reveal first looks at Evan Jonigkeit as Toad, Peter Dinklage as Bolivar Trask and especially Evan Peters as Quicksilver. The latter gained special attention as both Fox Studios and Marvel Studios have the film rights to the character (as well as his sister, Scarlet Witch) but are only legally allowed to use or mention certain aspects of his comic book roots. As per the licensing arrangement Fox made with Marvel in the late 90's, they retain exclusive rights to claim the Maximoff twins as "mutants" as well as establish their father as Magneto (played by both Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender due to time travel shenanigans). The most curious addition is Anna Paquin's Rogue, whose role was apparently cut from the film during the editing process, at least per a previous account. As with almost all of their "X-Men" films, Fox seems eager to portray how many mutants they are willing to have appear on screen, regardless of the quality of said appearances. If a scene by Paquin, whose star has only risen since "True Blood" became a hit became expendable, it is hard to imagine every character who appears having substance.

The story for the film is loosely based on the iconic comic story, "Days of Future Past" in which a hellish future causes the few remaining X-Men left to send one of their own back in time to prevent the tragedy from happening. As has become the norm for these vehicles, the major rewrite from the comics is finding a way to make the story revolve around Wolverine, Magneto, and Charles Xavier as the stars of the franchise (for good or ill).

Josh Trank denies "Fantastic Four" reboot rumors!

The other franchise that Fox has a death grip on is "Fantastic Four", which it appears to desire so strongly that the studio was willing to relinquish the film rights for "Daredevil" back to Marvel Entertainment in exchange for another extension of the Four's license. For the record, the last "Fantastic Four" film produced by Fox was "Rise of the Silver Surfer" back in 2007. Director Josh Trank is in the midst of beginning casting for the reboot of the franchise, with Michael B. Jordan seen as "a lock" to play Johnny Storm/Human Torch and other actors (such as Kata Mara and Kit Harington) testing around him.

A casting call sheet wound up online that claimed that the origin of the Four was being fiddled with - specifically, that Reed Richards and Ben Grimm gain their powers as youths and only meet Susan and Johnny Storm after they "mature". Trank stated on Twitter that this "is definitely not the synopsis or anything close to the synopsis". The previous films seemed to borrow more from the "Ultimate Fantastic Four" series than it did from the classic comic from 1961; by sheer coincidence, Mark Millar (who wrote or co-wrote that series for a stretch, including its launch) is Fox's "consultant" for their Marvel licensed films. This reboot, ready or not, is due to hit theaters June 19th, 2015.

New "Ant-Man" release date trolls Warner Brothers!

Last week, Warner Brothers and DC Entertainment announced that their next blockbuster film, the officially untitled "Batman vs. Superman" was moved back ten months from summer 2015 to summer 2016. Marvel Studios have wasted no time in capitalizing on their rival's fecklessness. Edgar Wright's "Ant-Man" was originally set for July 31st, 2015; it has since been moved up two weeks to July 17th, 2015. The film about the shrinking hero has always been a risk for Marvel Studios, but not having to compete against Batman or Superman is seen as a boon for it. It also allows the film to come out even closer after "Avengers: Age of Ultron".

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