Virtually every major Hollywood production has shut down or been delayed in the wake of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. But some productions are finding a way to forge ahead through virtual means. Two Marvel productions still going are Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and The Eternals, which are getting pre-production and VFX work done, respectively, through remote means.
Buried in a report from Variety on the multiple productions delayed by the coronavirus crisis, it’s revealed that Doctor Strange 2 is still on track to begin filming in June. How did they achieve this? They’re in the midst of pre-production being conducted remotely, presumably over Skype or the popular video-chatting app Zoom.
The pre-production work on Doctor Strange 2 suggests that Sam Raimi is on board to direct the sequel, after being courted by Marvel following the exit of the first film’s director Scott Derrickson. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is being rewritten by Michael Waldron the head writer for Disney+’s Loki, and will star Benedict Cumberbatch as the Sorcerer Supreme as well as Elizabeth Olsen as the Scarlet Witch in a reported tie-in to WandaVision.
Doctor Strange 2 is not the only Marvel production still grinding away. The Eternals is currently getting its VFX work done by Scanline VFX Studios, which confirmed in a statement on Twitter that its artists are working remotely on the project despite the coronavirus outbreak. The statement clarifies that the studio will remain remote for the foreseeable future to curb the spread of the virus, and that they remain open to new work and collaborations. See the full statement is below.
— Scanline VFX @Scanline_VFX March 24, 2020
The Eternals wrapped production in February of this year, right before the coronavirus threat started to register in the U.S. While filming is done for the highly anticipated Marvel film, the lengthy pre-production for an effects-heavy blockbuster like The Eternals put into question whether the film could make its November 2020 release date. But with its VFX artists chugging away, it seems that The Eternals will be able to finish pre-production on a relatively uninterrupted schedule.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is scheduled to hit theaters on May 7, 2021, while The Eternals is slated for November 6, 2020.
Even though Tony Stark is no longer in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's future so far as we know, there are some Iron Man surprises in store, including a new set of armor. This was, somewhat surprisingly, revealed by Disney and Marvel Studios months ago and nobody noticed. Yet, no doubt in part thanks to everyone being cooped up at home right now combing through unwatched material on streaming services, the armor has had a spotlight shed upon it, raising questions about how it will be used.
The armor was revealed in the Disney+ special Expanding The Universe. The documentary takes a look at the future of Marvel Studios, including some of the live-action shows like WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. The special also touches on the animated series What If? which will look at alternate universe scenarios for popular characters within the MCU. It seems, based on what we see in the preview, that this new Iron Man armor will appear in the show, which opens up a whole host of possibilities, including having Robert Downey Jr., or at least his voice, back in the MCU for a brief moment.
At one point in the documentary, some art for What If? is being showcased. We see a young Howard Stark, drawn very much to look like Dominic Cooper, who played Tony Stark's dad in Captain America: The First Avenger. We also briefly see some brand new Iron Man armor that looks far too advanced to have been cooked up during Howard's day, which rules out a few scenarios. One episode of What If? will center on Peggy Carter taking the supersoldier serum, turning her into Captain Britain. It seems we're going to see Steve Rogers in an early version of the Iron Man suit in that episode, but this version seems far more modern than what would have been available in the 1940s.
Interestingly, at one point, thanks to Jeff Goldblum, who is returning to reprise his role as Grandmaster from Thor: Ragnarok for the animated show, it was reported that Robert Downey Jr. would be voicing Tony Stark/Iron Man in the show. This was a big deal, given the character's fate at the end of Avengers: Endgame. That claim was later refuted, but perhaps there is some truth to it after all?
At this point, we have more questions than answers. What we know for sure is that What If? is aiming for a summer 2021 debut. Beyond that, there is also going to be another new version of the Iron Man armor debuting at Disney's Avengers Campus, which is expected to open at California Adventure this summer. The armor has been dubbed the Mark 80. Be sure to check out the armor in question for yourself, courtesy of some Twitter posts. Expanding The Universe is available to stream now on official Disney Plus streaming App.
¿Armadura nueva de Tony? pic.twitter.com/M2Tx1FsTaS— ????️???? QuidVacuo ????????️ @QuidVacuo_ March 25, 2020
Howard Stark. pic.twitter.com/XW9rlUNOD7—...
It seems inevitable that we'll one day see Keanu Reeves in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and for some fans, it would be amazing to see him portraying the MCU's version of Johnny Blaze's Ghost Rider Though some of Reeves' characters are certainly no less tough than Marvel's superheroes, the John Wick star has yet to appear in one of the major superhero movie franchises, but it hasn't been for a lack of trying. Last year, Marvel head Kevin Feige said there had been conversations with Reeves about bringing him into the universe one day, but Feige says they want to figure out 'the right way to do it.'
As the Johnny Blaze version of Ghost Rider has yet to appear in the MCU, there are many fans feeling taking on the role would be the perfect way to bring Reeves into the fold. Chatter over the possibility has since gotten the attention of digital artists like ultraraw26 on Instagram, who has gone ahead and created some interesting artwork imagining Reeves in the role. '[I don't care] what role he plays in the MCU, because whichever role that is, he will give one hell of a performance,' the artist notes in the caption. You can check out the artwork of Reeves as Ghost Rider for yourself below.
Those of us who've seen Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series may have already realized there's a hurdle in bringing in Reeves as Ghost Rider for a new movie set in the MCU. On the small screen series, Gabriel Luna appeared as Robbie Reyes version of the anti-hero with plans from the studio to develop a solo series for the character on Hulu. As Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is also set in the MCU, this means Reeves would have to play an alternate version of Ghost Rider, and although he'd be a different version, it still may confuse some fans to have two Ghost Riders in the MCU.. In any case, Hulu passed on the Ghost Rider series, leaving the future of the character in total limbo.
If Keanu Reeves doesn't have Ghost Rider on the table, then who else could he play in the MCU? Many characters have been suggested for him by Marvel fans, including Silver Surfer, Mr. Sinister, Moon Knight, Namor, and even Wolverine. Though we'll have to wait to see if and when Reeves will finally join the MCU and who he will play, there's still plenty else to look forward to for fans of the actor. He can soon be seen in the anticipated sequel Bill & Ted Face the Music and will reprise two other beloved roles in the upcoming sequels The Matrix 4 and John Wick 4.
Most of us remember when Nicolas Cage played Johnny Blaze in the 2007 Ghost Rider movie adaptation, a role which he reprised in the 2011 sequel Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. Those movies were fun enough, but it seems like it's about time to bring Johnny Blaze back to theaters with an all-new Ghost Rider movie, whether it's Luna or Reeves in the titular role. If not the latter, we'll hopefully see him appear in the MCU soon enough. The digital artwork shown above comes to us from...