First up, let's talk about Legendary Pictures and their upcoming daikaiju cinematic universe. Legendary Pictures made last year's American Godzilla reboot, which I thought was pretty good. Last year, they also announced that they were working on Kong: Skull Island, a King Kong prequel/reboot all about King Kong and the island from whence he came. Didn't take much for people to go, "Dude...does this mean they're gonna do King Kong vs Godzilla?" Well, no, because while Legendary was making the films, King Kong is still owned by Universal and Warner Brothers has the American rights to Godzilla.
Well, that is, until Legendary dotted the necessary i's and crossed the necessary t's and made things all copacetic with the various movie studios. And this past week, they announced their grand cinematic universe plans:
March 10, 2017 - Kong: Skull Island
June 8, 2018 - Godzilla 2
2020 - Godzilla vs Kong
The connecting thread in all these films is going to be Monarch, the shadowy organization we saw in Godzilla that's been monitoring giant monsters. They're actually going to be building quite the cinematic universe for this. It's already been announced that for Godzilla 2, they secured the rights to such famous Godzilla rogues as Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah.
And I am thrilled. I really enjoyed last year's Godzilla reboot, and if they can keep that momentum going, this is going to be good.
Speaking of cinematic universes, Fox announced this past week that they'd finally settled the TV rights to X-Men with Marvel, and that they've got two X-Men TV shows in development. First up is Legion, which will follow the adventures of Professor Charles Xavier's long lost son Legion. The second one is Hellfire. Set in the 1960s, it'll follow an FBI task force that tries to take down the X-Men enemy the Hellfire Club.
But the rumour started spreading that, in order to get this squared away, Fox had to give something back to Marvel. Before long, the Internet was afire with the possibility that, in order for this to happen, Fox gave Fantastic Four back to Marvel.
For those who've ever asked why we don't see the Fantastic Four or the X-Men team up with the Avengers in Marvel's Cinematic Universe, it's like this. Back before Marvel decided to open their own movie studio and go into business for themselves, they sold off the movie rights to many of their popular characters. And, to this day, Fox still owns the X-Men and Fantastic Four. When Disney bought Marvel, Disney said they'd honour all existing deals, but rest assured, whenever an opportunity arises for Marvel to reacquire the rights, Disney's gonna seize it. And it was thought, nay, hoped, that the failure of this past summer's Fantastic Four reboot was an opportunity for Marvel.
But, sadly, no. The rumour got so large that Fox and Marvel each had to issue statements saying that it was just a rumour, and the Fantastic Four rights remain with Fox.
So how can Marvel get the rights to Fantastic Four back? Well, I read online about a month ago that Fox now has 7 years to produce another Fantastic Four film. If they don't, the rights go back to Marvel. Worst case scenario: we've got to wait seven years. Well, actually, the worst case scenario is Fox produces another crappy Fantastic Four film.
I never did go see Fantastic Four. I was tempted to. I'm a sucker for all superhero movies, and the negative reviews and criticism just made me more curious. Not curious enough, apparently.
So for a while now I've been wanting to sit and blog about my journey to the Edmonton Comics and Entertainment Expo, aka the Edmonton Expo. I'd been debating going for a few years now, but was reluctant to, mainly because I was afraid of going overboard and spending far too much money.
Turned out I had nothing to worry about. I was so overwhelmed by it all that I forgot to buy anything. I mean, this was a far cry from the Star Trek conventions I went to in my youth. Rather than just one tiny little dealer's room, it was a trade show, easily filling the entire Edmonton Expo Centre, with every comic book shop, collectibles shop, and struggling artist in the province out in full force. I..just...wow. So much. No wonder people plan to go for the entire weekend. You need at least one day to do recon and come up with a strategy.
But I still had a great time. Managed to catch a couple of panels. Saw Caity Lotz, who plays Black Canary on Arrow and is ready to reprise the role on the upcoming spinoff DC's Legends of Tomorrow. She was delightful. And of course, had to see the man, the legend, Stan Lee.
There are no words to describe seeing Stan Lee in person. I mean, going into this, I already knew most of the stories from DVD bonus materials and just reading the history of comics. But there was something about seeing the man himself, in person, and hearing him tell those stories that just didn't compare. It's like seeing your favourite band live. Yeah, you've got all the albums, but the energy in the room just creates an experience that you don't forget.
One of the most memorable questions asked to Lee was quite morbid. One kid asked him how Marvel comics would go on after he died. The entire audience groaned, and Lee, as quick-witted as ever, simply said, "I won't care. I'll be dead!" Once that got a laugh, Lee explained what most comic book lovers have known for quite some time now: Lee has actually had very little to do with the day-to-day running of Marvel since the mid 1980s. So he imagines that the comics will carry on just as they are now. "The only thing you'll miss are my cameos in the movies," he ended with.
While I didn't buy anything, I was there as a man on a mission. I was after autographs. I brought stuff that I wanted to get signed. I brought with me my reprint of Amazing Fantasy #15 (aka the first Spider-Man comic) for Stan Lee to sign, but he was charging $100 per autograph, and that was a bit much for my budget. I brought one of my Doctor Who Blu-rays for Jenna Coleman to sign, but I always missed her at her autograph table. I brought my reprint of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 that I hoped to get TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman to sign, but by the time I made it to his table, there was a polite young volunteer who told me that they were cutting off the line, as Eastman was done for the day.
The only signature I managed to snag was Brain O'Halloran, Dante himself in Clerks, who I got to sign my Clerks DVD.
So we had just arrived. Me and my buddy were still wandering around, getting the lay of the land, when my buddy pointed out O'Halloran's autograph table. "Dude, there he is," said my friend. "And he's got no line up right now!" Took me all of 5 seconds to decide to go for it.
I went up to the kind volunteer, paid my money, and approached Mr. O'Halloran. Pleasantries were explained, I handed him my Clerks DVD, gushed about how much I loved Clerks and how it was the first DVD I ever bought. "Really?" he said. "First DVD I ever bought was A Clockwork Orange." He signed my DVD, shook my hand, and I was smiling for the next hour.
The day was made right there. And that was my adventure at the Edmonton Expo. I'm hoping I can go again next year. Now that I know what to expect, I know how better to prepare.