Blockbusters in the Making: "Superman Vs. Batman," "Star Wars Episode VII" and "The Avengers: Age of Ultron"

Photo Credit: DC Entertainment
March 7th, 2014

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The most successful movie franchises of recent years embody the foundations of not only popular culture, but also that of modern heroic mythology. The most anticipated films to premiere in the near future are new installments of three of these incredibly successful heroic adventure franchises. Audiences are already anticipating lining up to see blockbusters such as "Superman vs Batman," "Star Wars Episode VII" and "Avengers: Age of Ultron" as soon as they hit theaters.

"Superman Vs. Batman"

This film, scheduled for release in early 2016, is designed to be both a continuation of the earlier "Man of Steel" film and an expansion of the world in which it takes place. It will introduce new characters set to be expanded in later films. Henry Cavill returns as the brooding and conflicted Superman from the first film. Ben Affleck will play Batman. Joining those two are Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Jeremy Irons as Alfred and Diane Lane as Martha Kent. Michael B. Jordan, the actor who distinguished himself in "Fruitvale Station," is in talks to play the superhero Cyborg. Rumors of appearances by other DC superhero characters, such as Green Lantern and the Flash, abound as well.

Zack Snyder is once again sitting in the director's chair, as he did for "Man of Steel."  The film is being shot in Detroit, which will stand in for the gritty Gotham City, the site of much of the story's action. The Kent farmhouse, where a young Clark Kent grew up, is also a confirmed set piece. Story details are a closely held secret but seem likely to involve the two title heroes at first coming into conflict but eventually teaming up to take down the real bad guys.

"Star Wars Episode VII"

The Walt Disney company is planning a major one-two knockout punch at movie theaters in 2015, with a new "Avengers" flick and the latest installment in the beloved "Star Wars" series.

J.J. Abrams, fresh off his two-film reboot of the "Star Trek" franchise, is set to direct. Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Ian McDiarmid and Harrison Ford will reprise their roles from the original movie trilogy. Everyone's favorite droid pair, C-3PO and R2-D2, played by their original actors Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker, are featured as well. Also on board for the sequel are newcomers Gary Oldman and Benedict Cumberbatch.

The story revolves around the grown twin children of Han Solo and Leia, named Jaina and Jacen. Both earn the title of Jedi knights like their uncle Luke Skywalker before them. However, Jacen is seduced by the Dark Side of the Force while Jaina both opposes him and fights to save his soul. As this film is set to kick off a new trilogy set in the galaxy far, far away, this epic conflict may end up sprawling across all three films.

"Avengers: Age of Ultron"

Sure to be a highly anticipated film of 2015, "Avengers: Age of Ultron" follows up not just on the first "Avengers" film, but also on the extremely successful Marvel film franchise that will encompass 10 films by the time this sequel is released.

The original cast members are returning: Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans as Captain America, Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, Scarlett Johannson as the Black Widow, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye. New to the cast is Aaron Taylor-Johnson as the speedster Quicksilver. Joining him is Elizabeth Olsen as the probability-bending Scarlet Witch. James Spader will play the malevolent artificial intelligence Ultron.

Exact story details are vague as yet, but with Joss Whedon returning as both writer and director, everyone anticipates a sharp and witty action experience. The only plot tidbit that seems certain is that Tony Stark will somehow be responsible for the creation of Ultron, either directly or indirectly.

Principal scenes are shot in Johannesburg, South Africa, a city that sees the destruction of a savage Hulk on a rampage as the opener to the film. Other locations on the shooting schedule include London, Seoul, and the Aosta Valley, Italy.

Many incredible movies are on the entertainment horizon, but none are shining quite so brightly as "Superman Vs. Batman," "Star Ears Episode VII" and "Avengers: Age of Ultron."  These franchises have a built-in fan base measuring in the many millions. Combined with eager and curious newcomers anxious to see if the productions live up to the hype, these three blockbusters will likely be the most talked about film releases for years to come.