Twenty movies into its box office domination world tour, there’s still one thing that the Marvel Cinematic Universe doesn’t have: an all-female team-up movie. While MCU stars like Tessa Thompson, Brie Larson, and Zoe Saldana have been vocal about pitching Marvel head Kevin Feige on the concept, the billion-dollar franchise has yet to capitalize on the idea, though upcoming additions to its slate have hinted at a more female-focused lineup to come. Still, Larson and company aren’t giving up on their dream, and Captain Marvel herself remains enthused about the possibility of bringing the franchise’s female heroes together in their own feature.
During a recent interview with Variety, Larson was asked if she and her Marvel co-stars have engaged in talks with Feige about finally making that all-women Marvel movie. “I will say that a lot of the female cast members from Marvel walked up to Kevin and we were like, 'We are in this together, we want to do this,’” Larson told Variety. “What that means, I have no idea. You know, I'm not in charge of the future of Marvel, but it is something that we're really passionate about and we love and I feel like if enough people out in the world talk about how much they want it, maybe it'll happen.”
Last year, Thompson explained that Marvel seemed pretty high on the idea. “I think Kevin Feige is really excited by the idea,” she said, “and if you look at what's happened already in Phase 4 with me and Valkyrie and our story, and then in 'Black Panther,' the women rule supreme. There's an interest in having women at the forefront of this phase. I feel like it's hopeful.”
As the studio prepared to release “Black Panther” in 2018, Feige continued to hint at a future for the MCU that included more diversity, including for its female filmmakers and stars. “I think it's only the beginning,” Feige told IndieWire at the time. “I think you'll see more and more of that in front of the camera, behind the camera and that that is what is required of us as storytellers. ... We want these movies to reflect the world in which they are made, and be brought to life by all types of people behind the camera.”
The women of Marvel last appeared together on-screen during the climatic final battle that capped off “Avengers: Endgame.” Despite the giddy joy of seeing Captain Marvel teaming up with fellow Marvel heroines like Scarlet Witch, Valkyrie, Okoye, Mantis, Shuri, Hope Van Dyne, Gamora, Nebula, and Pepper Potts, some fans including this writer saw the scene as pandering to an audience that would like to see more of the MCU’s female stars.
But Larson has only good memories of that part of the shoot, and she expanded on why it felt so powerful to Variety. “It was just a great day,” Larson told the outlet. “To get to be with all of those women for the day and you get this feeling of, like, almost a little bit of naughtiness because it's a secret and none of us can talk about it — that it felt like we were a part of this like coven working together for this goal. It was an opportunity for us to share and hang out. And as many people know, a lot of the time women aren't working together. It's kind of been this new breath of fresh air for us in our industry that there's more female ensemble films, which has allowed us the opportunity to really communicate with one another.”
Despite the short-shrift nature of the “Endgame” moment, the franchise has plenty of directors within its fold invested in telling female-led stories with nuance and care, from “Captain Marvel” helmers Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden to Peyton Reed, whose “Ant-Man and the Wasp” offered a female-fronted superhero film months before “Captain Marvel” debuted. When that film was released last summer, the filmmaker was clear with IndieWire about his desire to make sure Evangeline Lilly's Hope Van Dyne reflected a superhero with some real grit.
“Evangeline kept banging this drum in a great way,” Reed said at the time, recalling that she told him, “I don't want to be overly glam. That's not who Hope Van Dyne is. When I fight in the movie, I want to be sweaty, and in terms of my hair when I'm in the suit, I want it to be a clean, practical ponytail, because how is that helmet going to go on and off otherwise?”
Last year, “Black Panther” star Danai Gurira told IndieWire how her experience with director Ryan Coogler on the set of the smash hit made her feel secure in the direction of the film. She told IndieWire that one of the great joys of the film was a vision that was rooted in the women that Coogler and co-writer Joe Robert Cole had made central to their story - including not just her own character, but roles for T'Challa's mother, sister, and a love interest.
“He would describe these women characters in ways that I've never heard women described,” Gurira said at the time. “I want to see stories told authentically, given accessibility, that's my thing. What was also really thrilling was that he wrote them as women of integrity and women of complexity and women of strength.”
While Marvel has yet to greenlight its female team-up movie, Phase Four of the franchise does offer a number of female-centric features. The series’ first post-“Endgame” feature will arrive in theaters in May of next year, when Scarlett Johansson will reprise her role as Black Widow in the long-rumored “Black Widow” standalone movie. That film will be followed by the November release of Chloe Zhao’s “The Eternals,” which includes starring roles for MCU newbies Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Lauren Ridloff, and Lia McHugh.
Marvel’s first horror series has found its cast. Marvel’s Helstrom has announced its cast, lead by Tom Austen The Borgias and Sydney Lemmon Fear the Walking Dead as the titular Helstrom siblings who battle supernatural evil forces. They’ll be joined by Homeland alum Elizabeth Marvel as the the long-institutionalized Victoria Helstrom in the 10-episode first season of the Hulu series.
Marvel announced the cast of its Hulu series Marvel’s Helstrom, a superhero series described as Marvel’s “first foray into terror” that is based on the character spun off from Ghost Rider in the short-lived comic book arc Son of Satan. Austen stars as Daimon Hellstrom, a son of a “mysterious and powerful” serial killer who along with his sister Ana Lemmon “track down the terrorizing worst of humanity — each with their attitude and skills.”
Also starring in Marvel’s Helstrom are Elizabeth Marvel as the institutionalized Victoria Helstrom, Robert Wisdom as Caretaker, June Carryl as Dr. Louise Hastings, Ariana Guerra as Gabriella Rosetti, and Alain Uy as Chris Yen.
“We feel incredibly fortunate to have landed a cast loaded with this much talent,” said series executive producer and showrunner Paul Zbyszewski Day Break. “From the beginning, we knew we’d need a group of actors who were multifaceted, who could play all the chords any great Marvel show promises to play, from dramatic thriller to comedy to action. It’s going to be really fun to watch them work.”
Marvel also released a list of descriptions for the characters of the series, most of whom are lesser-known Ghost Rider supporting characters:
Tom Austen The Royals, The Borgias as Daimon Helstrom – A professor of ethics who moonlights as an exorcist, Daimon has no illusions about saving a world he has no patience for; he just hopes he can help a few of the people closest to him. In his battle against a hidden world, Daimon is determined to root out demons as they arise, and will not stop until they’re vanquished.
Sydney Lemmon Succession, Fear The Walking Dead as Ana Helstrom – By day, Ana runs a successful auction house and suffers no fools, but her true interest lies in hunting down those who hurt others. Traumatized by her father as a child, Ana is driven to rid the world of those like him, even as she secretly worries her father will return.
Elizabeth Marvel Homeland, The Meyerowitz Stories as Victoria Helstrom – Plagued by demons both real and imagined, Victoria has been institutionalized for twenty years. While she struggles to be herself, she hopes to repair her relationship with her children.
Robert Wisdom Ballers, Watchmen as Caretaker – Caretaker is a guardian of knowledge of the occult. He uses his knowledge and his relationship with Ana to help keep demonic forces at bay.
June Carryl Mindhunter, Dead Women Walking as Dr. Louise Hastings – A psychologist with a strong faith but an open mind, Hastings is head of the psychiatric hospital where Victoria is being monitored. She has watched over the Helstrom family for years, caring for them as best she can.
Ariana Guerra Raising Dion, Insatiable as Gabriella Rosetti – A woman balancing logic and faith, Gabriella arrives from the Vatican to help Daimon and Hastings uncover cases of demonic possession. She wants to save everyone she can, including Daimon.
Alain Uy The Passage, Paper Tigers as Chris Yen – Yen is Ana’s business partner and her closest friend - some would say surrogate brother. He carries out the bulk of the auction house’s responsibilities and assists Ana with whatever she needs.
Originally packaged with the now-cancelled Ghost Rider, Helstrom joins Marvel’s growing slate of Hulu series like Marvel’s Runaways. Marvel’s Helstrom is a 10-episode season set to debut in 2020.
EXCLUSIVE: Marvel's upcoming horror fueled Helstrom is going full POTUS, in a very dark way.
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Fresh off her role as besieged President Elizabeth Keane on Homeland and an unforgiving stint on Netflix's Unbelievable, Elizabeth Marvel joins veterans of Fear The Walking Dead, The Royals and the just launched Raising Dion on the demonic live action series from Hulu and the home of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
The aptly named Marvel will play the long-institutionalized Victoria Helstrom in the 10-episode first season of the Paul Zbyszewski, who will serve as showrunner and Marvel TV boss Jeph Loeb executive produced series.
Set to debut next year on the Disney controlled streamer, Helstrom will be led by Tom Austen and Sydney Lemmon as supposed serial killer offspring Daimon Helstrom and Ana Helstrom. Plagued by their family background Grantchester and ex- The Royals blackmailing bodyguard Austen and FearTWD alum Lemmon will pursue the world's vilest of the vile — with some family drama of their own.
Raising Dion's Ariana Guerra, Ballers' Robert Wisdom, June Carryl and Alain Uy will also star in the Vancouver, Canada filmed live action series that Hulu picked up back in May See character descriptions below. The pulling back of the Helstrom cast curtain comes as the show kicks into production in Hollywood North and the long-planned Ghost Rider series with Gabriel Luna was shuttered late last month.
Of course, when you may or may not be leaping into Hellfire, Marvel's first foray into real horror looks to be pretty hot.
“We feel incredibly fortunate to have landed a cast loaded with this much talent,” said EP Zbyszewski to Deadline today of the Helstrom unveiling. “From the beginning, we knew we'd need a group of actors who were multifaceted, who could play all the chords any great Marvel show promises to play, from dramatic thriller to comedy to action. It's going to be really fun to watch them work.”
“Marvel Television is thrilled to have such an amazing cast that enriches Paul's fantastic writing,” added fellow EP Loeb of the Marvel Television and ABC Signature Studios produced show and its players. “The ensemble is the perfect way to bring our audience into our Adventure into Fear franchise causing delicious nightmares of what's to come!”
First making an appearance in the almost equally fiery Ghost Rider comic back in 1973, Daimon Hellstrom AKA Son of Satan was granted his own series soon afterwards. With a sibling called Satana in the books, the Roy Thomas and Gary Friedrich created Hellstrom the comic character has demonic abilities and the ability to travel back and forth between this world and Hell.
With a multi-world of narrative possibilities, Hellstrom has gone through various iterations and spellings over the years. He is currently set as a member of the down and dirty Strikeforce comic team with the Blade, Monica Rambeau, Angela, Winter Soldier, Wiccan and Spider-Woman characters.
No word yet on how Helstrom the TV series will roll out on Hulu, but don't be shocked if they debut a trio of episodes in one go and the remainder week after week.
Here are the cast and characters descriptions of Marvel's Helstrom
Tom Austen Grantchester, The Royals as Daimon Helstrom — A professor of ethics who moonlights as an exorcist, Daimon has no illusions about saving a world he has no patience for; he just hopes he can help a few of the people closest to him. In his battle against a hidden world, Daimon is determined to root out demons as they arise, and will not stop until they're vanquished.
Sydney Lemmon Fear of The Walking Dead as Ana Helstrom — By day, Ana runs a successful auction house and suffers no fools, but her true interest lies in hunting down those who hurt others. Traumatized by her father as a child, Ana is driven to rid the world of those like him, even as she secretly worries her father will return.
Elizabeth Marvel Homeland, The Meyerowitz Stories as Victoria Helstrom — Plagued by demons both real and imagined, Victoria has been institutionalized for twenty years. While she struggles to be herself, she hopes to repair her relationship with her children.
Robert Wisdom Ballers, Watchmen as Caretaker — Caretaker is a guardian of knowledge of the occult. He uses his knowledge and his relationship with Ana to help keep demonic forces at bay.
June Carryl Mindhunter, Dead Women Walking as Dr. Louise Hastings — A psychologist with a strong faith but an open mind, Hastings is head of the psychiatric hospital where Victoria is being monitored. She has watched over the Helstrom family for years, caring for them as best she can.
Ariana Guerra Raising Dion, Insatiable as Gabriella Rosetti — A woman balancing logic and faith, Gabriella arrives from the Vatican to help Daimon and Hastings uncover cases of demonic possession. She wants to save everyone she can, including Daimon.
Alain Uy The Passage, Paper Tigers as Chris Yen — Yen is Ana's business partner and her closest friend — some would say surrogate brother. He carries out the bulk of the auction house's responsibilities and assists Ana with whatever she needs.
Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese has come under fire recently for his negative comments about Marvel movies, and Avengers star Robert Downey Jr. has offered his response. Despite his status as one of history's most notable filmmakers, Scorsese had made Marvel fans irate when he boldly claimed he didn't watch the movies as they are "not cinema."
Speaking with Howard Stern, Downey has since responded to the comments, and while he clearly doesn't agree with Martin Scorsese, he takes the diplomatic approach and says he appreciates the difference of opinion. Here's what Downey had to say on Stern's radio show about Marvel and their place in cinematic history.
"It's his opinion. I mean, well, it plays in theaters. I appreciate his opinion, because it's like anything, we need all of the different perspectives so we can come to center and move on."
Feeling Downey is being too kind, Howard Stern presses him on the issue. From his view, Stern feels a movie like Iron Man definitely is cinema. Downey agrees with that notion, using Stern's status as a radio show host to demonstrate how nonsensical the statement seems to be.
"It would be like saying Howard Stern isn't radio. It makes no sense to say it."
Downey goes on to explain how phenomenal the rise of Marvel movies has been in Hollywood, rising to tremendous s by surpassing the competition in a "demonstrative" way. While the actor isn't convinced Scorsese is genuinely upset about the success of the Marvel movies, Stern doesn't agree, theorizing the director is unhappy with the way superhero movies have changed cinema after getting used to movies being a certain way for so many years. Still, Downey reiterates how much he appreciates Scorsese's different point of view on the Marvel movies, even if he doesn't necessarily agree.
The interesting conversation on Stern's show led to another revelation from Downey. After praising Downey's performance as Tony Stark, noting how his performance is excellent. Stern asks if Downey has ever been nominated for an Academy Award for the role, to which Downey confirms he hasn't. However, the actor says "there was some talk about it," referring to a campaign to get him an Oscar nomination, but his response to the suggestion was simply, "Let's not." Whether he officially gets a Best Actor nod at the event or not, most anyone who's seen Avengers: Endgame will know that he deserves it.
Related: Marvel Fans Spend National Cheeseburger Day Mourning the Loss of Iron Man
Downey isn't the only Marvel name to respond to Scorsese's controversial Marvel comments. Guardians of the Galaxy helmer James Gunn said he was "saddened" to see the legendary director judge his movies without even watching them. "I'm not fond of people judging things without actually seeing them," the filmmaker wrote in a follow-up tweet. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse director Peter Ramsey also stepped in to call for peace by tweeting, "Martin Scorsese is a god. Marvel movies are fun and good. Chill."
Scorsese remains one of Hollywood's all-time biggest names, but he's definitely not popular with those in the Marvel community right now. For what it's worth, it seems most people don't agree with him. In any case, we can see Scorsese's vision of what cinema is when The Irishman hits Netflix on Nov. 27. You can watch the clip of Downey's response to Scorsese below, courtesy of The Howard Stern Show on YouTube.
The Irishman‘s impending arrival on Netflix and in theaters is finally making Robert De Niro and Al Pacino proud to be in a movie together again, but legendary director Martin Scorsese’s recent comments on Marvel Studios movies are pulling a bit of focus. That might be an overstatement, but Scorsese’s comments are certainly inspiring some lively discourse. To quickly recap, Scorsese declared that these superhero movies are “not cinema” and are “like theme parks.” James Gunn, who’s now directing for both Disney/Marvel Studios and Warner Bros./DC, declared himself to be “saddened” by the remarks while Samuel L. Jackson is “okay” with Scorsese’s fighting words because “everybody’s got an opinion.” Naturally, Howard Stern and Robert Downey Jr. couldn’t resist digging in on the subject together.
In typical Stern fashion on his Monday radio show, the former shock jock felt pretty passionate on the subject. Downey Jr., on the other hand, projected a wry air. He first communicated that he never really wanted to push for an Oscar and he’s not part of the upcoming Disney campaign while playing Tony Stark. Then while admitting his surprise on the enormity of the MCU, he dropped some initial Scorsese remarks:
“I’ll tell you the truth. I didn’t expect it [the Marvel Cinematic Universe] to become what it became and it is this very large, multi-headed Hydra at this point. I’ve always had other interests and according to Scorsese, it’s not cinema so I have to take a look at that, you know?
“It’s his opinion. I mean it plays in theaters. I appreciate his opinion because I think it’s like anything. We need all of the different perspectives so we can come to center and move on.”
However, even though Downey Jr. can “appreciate” that Scorsese has an opinion, he still stated that “it makes no sense” to say that comic book movies aren’t part of cinema. To the Sherlock Holmes actor, this is “like saying Howard Stern isn’t radio.” Well, Stern pressed harder while wondering if Scorsese is envious of the MCU’s unyielding profitability even with characters like Ant-Man, which Stern didn’t mention, but seriously, no one would have imagined Scott Lang carrying films a decade ago, and that’s where Downey Jr. added some more insight. He doesn’t think Scorsese’s jealous, but he says that if the MCU is a problem, then it’s a good problem for cinema to have:
“Of course not, he’s Martin Scorsese. By the way, there’s a lot to be said about how these genre movies - and I was happy to be a part of the ‘problem,’ if there is one - denigrated the art form of cinema. When you come in like a stomping beast and you eliminate competition in such a demonstrative way, it’s phenomenal.”
Given Martin Scorsese’s controversial critique of Marvel movies last week, it was only a matter of time before Robert Downey Jr., the godfather of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, weighed in on the matter. The “Iron Man” actor was asked by Howard Stern to comment on Scorsese’s opinion that Marvel movies are more like theme parks than actual cinema. Downey Jr. welcomed Scorsese’s opinion, making it clear that he is well aware Marvel has become Hollywood’s most powerful force. As Downey Jr. put it for comic book fans, “It is this very large, multi-headed Hydra at this point.”
Stern asked Downey Jr. point black if Marvel movies were “cinema,” to which the actor replied, “I mean it plays in theaters. I appreciate [Scorsese’s] opinion. I think it’s like anything where we need all of the different perspectives so we can come to center and move on.” Downey Jr. may welcome Scorsese’s opinion, but it appears he doesn’t so readily agree. Asked if Scorsese insulted him, Downey Jr. answered, “No. It’d be like saying Howard Stern isn’t radio. It makes no sense to say it.”
Downey Jr. added, “Of course he’s not jealous of the success. He’s Martin Scorsese. By the way, there is a lot to be said for how these genre movies, and I was happy to be part of the “problem,” if there is one, but how they have denigrated the era, the art form of cinema. When you come in like a stomping beast and you eliminate the competition in such a demonstrative way, it’s phenomenal.”
Scorsese’s original comment was given to Empire magazine. “I don't see them. I tried, you know? But that's not cinema,” Scorsese said when asked about Marvel movies. “Honestly, the closest I can think of them, as well made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks. It isn't the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”
Scorsese’s critique has launched an endless wave of reactions from filmmakers and actors who have contributed to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn said he was “saddened” by Scorsese’s thoughts, while Samuel L. Jackson snapped back that not “everybody loves [Scorsese’s] movies either.”