Film Surf Report: Audiences with Super Hero Fatigue Syndrome Must Get Used to Universes and 44 Movies by 2020


Santa Monica, CA — Is it Me, or is it getting harder to keep track of all the big franchise super hero flicks these days:  44 movies (and counting) over the next four years?!  This audience member has Super Hero Fatigue Syndrome.

What with Warner Bros. and DC Comics landing Joss Whedon to write/produce/direct a Batgirl standalone film, and Ben Affleck deciding to direct, then not to direct The Batman,  Marvel’s Phase 3 of the MCU racheting up big time, Carrie Fisher’s death altering the course of the Star Wars Extended Universe, and the next four installments in the Harry Potter Universe where we get to see young Dumbledore, et al.

There are a lot of Universes to sort.

Blame it on Marvel Studios and its successful creation of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). Phase One introduced the audience to Iron Man, Captain America, and ThorPhase Two brought us sequels along with a very unexpected hit in Guardians of the GalaxyPhase 3 kicked off with Captain America: Civil War and a successful launch of Doctor Strange, and the MCU will be greatly tested in 2018 with Avengers: Infinity Wars uniting the Avengers with not only Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, but also Star Lord & Co. from GOTG. A projected Phase Four may be a total re-boot of the MCU following Avengers 4 and GOTG3.

Imitation is the highest form of Flattery.

Warner Bros. and DC Comics took notice (along with some Depressants) and stumbled with the uneven Man of Steel followed by the dreadful Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and the groan-inducing but Oscar-winning Suicide Squad.

The studio’s very aggressive DCEU rollout plans include not only a Nightwing standalone film but also a Harley Quinn standalone film, Gotham City Sirens, based on Margot Robbie’s performance in addition to a possible Mel Gibson-directed sequel to Suicide Squad. Ugh.

nightwing   harley-quinn

Fingers are crossed that the highly anticipated Wonder Woman can get the Super Friends back on track in time for Justice League and the Aquaman standalone film.  The Marvel storytelling approach adopted by David Goyer & Co. to the DC Comics characters doesn’t seem to be working.

Lighten Up, DC!  Superman should be fun. Bring back the Legion of Doom!

Supposedly, Henry Cavill will get another solo Superman film.  He deserves a good story, a great villain, and Amy Adams returning as Lois Lane. No script yet for Man of Steel 2, however, Matthew Vaughn (Kingsman) is in talks to direct which is a good sign.


Meanwhile, Tom Cruise kicks off Universal’s Monsters Universe this summer with a new, contemporary take on The Mummy that will open the portal for Dracula, Frankenstein and The Wolfman if all goes according to plan.

Showtime’s Penny Dreadful has comprehensively beat these films to the proverbial (and fictional) punch, btw.  Binge-watch. Now.  British. Period. Fantastic. Season One is pretty fantastic. Kudos, John Logan.

X-Men appears to be a bit of a mess following 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse.  Young Jean Grey, Cyclops, Storm and Nightcrawler lived to see another day and to carry the torch to the next decade, but will the audience care enough about them without some incarnation (older or younger) of Magneto, Professor X, Beast and Mystique?

Fatigue has set in, I think.  Nonetheless, a Dark Phoenix-centric sequel seems likely in addition to a New Mutants movie set at Xavier’s School for the Gifted.  How will the Sinister Six figure in, I wonder? (An Easter Egg was dropped at the end of Apocalypse.) Fox and Marvel seem hell bent on aging out the old cast (and audience).  Sorry, Ian McKellen & Co.  Really sorry.

Meanwhile, Disney and LucasFilm are riding high following the success of The Force Awakens and Rogue One.  The untimely death of Carrie Fisher underscores the already Must-See factor of Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. And the Young Han Solo movie is currently in production.


Paramount and Sony seem to be playing without such heavy hitters on their roster.  Mission Impossible 6 is on the books for 2018, and Henry Cavill has been added to the cast.  And, the James Bond film is currently up for grabs with no less than 5 studios bidding for what looks to be Daniel Craig’s swan song as 007. (Now there’s a Universe just waiting to be stirred, not shaken!). Sony cannot afford to lose that franchise. Lionsgate has yet to launch The Hunger Games extended universe prequels.

Here’s the latest breakdown of what we can expect from Disney & Marvel Studios, Warner Bros. & DC Comics, the Universal Monster Franchise, etc.:

old-logan   cruise-mummy-2017

2 0 1 7:

  • LOGAN, aka Wolverine 3, opened March 3rd.  Hugh Jackman’s last turn culminates with him playing a much older Wolverine and involves a dying Professor X.  It felt like a Must-see film, and audiences turned out to say goodbye. Received great reviews.
  • May 5th  GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXYStar Lord’s father, Thanos, Taser Face, Baby Groot & more! I trust director James Gunn to deliver (again).  Reviews agree that while it’s still fun, the sequel is not as charming as the original. Meanwhile, Gunn has been set to write and direct #3. Here’s the Trailer for 2:
  • June 2nd WONDER WOMAN  High hopes for Gal Gadot’s solo outing.  She was the best thing in Batman Vs Superman. Chris Pine co-stars as her love interest.  Good for him. Super powerful wrist bands are crossed for a good story.
  • June 9th  THE MUMMY  Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Russell Crowe kick off Universal’s Monsters Cinematic Universe that includes Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolfman.


  • Nov. 3rd  THOR: RAGNORAK A great cast plus The Hulk.  Here’s the very fun and funny second teaser trailer:
  • Nov. 17th  JUSTICE LEAGUE Meta-Humans unite behind Bruce Wayne.
  • Dec. 15th  STAR WARS, EP. VIII: THE LAST JEDI  Answers the question:  Who are Rey’s parents? No General Leia for Ep. IX, so what becomes of her?  Here’s the Trailer which has All The Feels:  //“>Star Wars, Ep. VIII: The Last Jedi
  • Dec. 22nd  This date available!


2 0 1 8:

  • Deadpool 2  June 1st Ryan Reynolds returns with a new director for the foul-mouthed, almost-Oscar nominated sequel and breakout X-men property.  Fox has to get this sequel right in order to launch Strike Force, so expect a set-up.
  • Black Panther   February. Very impressed with Chadwick Bozeman and his introduction in Civil War and have high hopes for the standalone film which boasts a fine cast directed by Ryan Coogler (Creed, Fruitvale Station).  Interested to see the South Korea locations.
  • Infinity Wars Part One    May 4th. Could be way too many Marvel characters going up against Thanos in this one.  Everyone gets short shrift, but if anyone can pull it off, it’s Marvel.
  • Ant-Man & Wasp  July 6th Not a fan, so Rudd & Co. gotta win me over. Michael Douglas returns as Hank PymPeyton Reed directs (again).
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming  Tom Holland and Marisa Tomei scored in Civil War and are awarded with a  July 7th release date.  Michael Keaton is the Big Bad.
  • X-Men: New Mutants April 13th. Josh Boone directing a new group of mutants that will likely include Wolfsbane, Rachel Summers, and MagmaJames McAvoy set to return as Professor X.
  • Venom.  Now, this is a head-scratcher to be sure.  Sony has penciled in this Spider-Man villain flick here for Oct. 5th. This is a case of wishful thinking.  Release date, but no script and no casting.  Hopes are not high.
  • Gambit    Channing Tatum seems awfully busy these days.  Is this film happening?  Doug Liman was set to direct with an original release date of October 2016, which clearly did not happen.
  • X-Men: Dark Phoenix  Nov. 2nd  Too soon. I still remember the Famke Janssen version of X3 and young Jean Grey was just okay in Apocalypse. Fox is going to the X-Well once too often, I fear.
  • Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them, Part Two  (November).  David Yates to direct the 2nd of the planned five films in the franchise that will likely culminate in the big duel between Grindewald and a young Dumbledore!
  • Strike Force A team franchise led by Deadpool, Fox will make it work for better or worse (Fantastic Four anyone?).
  • Young Han Solo May 25th or Dec. 13th  Alden Ehrenreich (Hail Caesar!, Beautiful Creatures) seems to be a terrific choice.  Donald Glover co-stars as young Lando Calrissian.  Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton and Emilia Clarke also co-star. Phil Lord and Chris Miller direct.
  • Aquaman Man, I hope Marvel gets it right here.  Jason Momoa looks great holding a trident, confronting Bruce Wayne, etc.  Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman also star. James Wan directs. Inherits the Dec. release date from Avatar 2 which James Cameron pulled.


2 0 1 9:

  • The Batman  Ben Affleck returns. Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, War for the Planet of the Apes) set to direct.  Joe Mangianello is set as Deathstroke, the villain. Frankly, I’d rather see  Bookworm (with Tom Cruise or Colin Firth). Affleck wrote the script with Geoff Johns, however, Reeves is starting over from scratch.  Hence, the delay.
  • Captain Marvel   Okay, Brie Larson.  Ya got your work cut out for ya.
  • Infinity Wars Part Two    Sequel or no sequel.  Will the Russos stick with one film? This film could also become Avengers 4 should a part two not be warranted.
  • Inhumans TV tackles this franchise first.  Hmmm….
  • The Flash  Ezra Miller’s standalone film has been plagued with problems. New script and new director caused the film to get pushed back by a year or more.
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming Part Two
  • Shazam!      David F. Sandberg set to direct.
  • Justice League Part Two     Introducing Green Lantern!
  • Fantastic Beasts 3 (November)
  • Star Wars, Ep. IX  December  How will LucasFilm resolve General Leia’s story?



2 0 2 0:

  • Cyborg   Oy.  Can’t say I am really interested.
  • Green Lantern   Hope they take this character seriously and not pull a Deadpool.
  • TBA Marvel Studios x3   Fingers crossed one of these films will be a Black Widow standalone film.  Avengers 4 looks likely to be one of these three films which will lead into a re-boot of the MCU, presumably, with all new, less expensive Avengers.
  • Superman: Man of Steel 2 What villians are left for Superman to battle? No interest in Lex Luthor. Sorry, Jessie Eisenberg.  Too twitchy.  Save this franchise, Matthew Vaughn.  Colin Firth as the villain!
  • Gotham City Sirens Solo outing for Harley Quinn. Who are the other Sirens:  Catwoman? David Ayer set to direct.
  • Nightwing (tent.) Of all the recently announced DCEU films, I am most interested in this Dick Grayson-centric film. Am guessing it’s a prequel of sorts since Robin’s demise is alluded to in BvS. Bill Dubuque (The Accountant, The Judge) scripts. Chris McKay (LEGO Batman) directs.
  • Black Adam The Rock will save both Us and this film. No doubt.
  • Suicide Squad 2 (tent.) Mel Gibson to direct? I would rather see the Legion of Doom.
  • Batgirl (tent.) Barbara Gordon gets her own standalone film courtesy of Joss Whedon
  • Guardians of the Galaxy 3. Will we see the adventures of the original Ravagers and a new mix tape?  This is the 2nd of the three MCU films slated, most likely.
  • Avatar 2: Who Can Remember The First One?


N E X T    U P:

Pilot Season Trends To Watch (or Ignore).

About Surfing Hollywood

Steve La Rue is an internationally recognized leader in Film & Television with 20+ years experience as a Development Executive championing such series as Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The X-Files, The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Battlestar Galactica, and Farscape. He writes, blogs, and consults on All Things TransMedia from his home at the beach in Santa Monica, CA, where he balances his life by surfing every damn day.
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