Joss Whedon is joining the DC Universe? Jordan Peele is tackling the live-action Akira? Oh, what a day!
Well, here’s two pieces of news I didn’t expect to wake up to today. For what it’s worth, I didn’t even KNOW there was a Batgirl standalone movie in the works, although it should have been easy enough to predict when you consider the current state of the DC film universe. And though the live-action Akira film has been popping around Hollywood for over a decade, it’s one of those movies that has been in development hell for so long that I rarely even think about it. It just becomes one of those inevitabilities: we’re going to have a new Star War every year, and Hollywood will continue invariably to make Akira happen.
Yes, both projects being in development isn’t too much of a shocker — but the people who are reportedly getting involved certainly are.
And, of the two, Joss Whedon jumping aboard Batgirl is definitely the most shocking. Whedon of course hasn’t worked in a while, taking an extended sabbatical from Hollywood after his harrowing experience on Avengers: Age of Ultron. In the three years since he made that film, Whedon has not been shy about his experience working on a big, franchise driven blockbuster sequel. To summarize it briefly, he was not a fan. So, yeah, the idea of him coming back and doing it again for DC is not something I ever expected.
But if Variety’s sources are correct (and they usually are), Whedon is indeed close to signing a deal to write, produce, and direct a standalone movie about the famous DC character. On the surface, it seems like a no-brainer: Whedon is clearly a comic book nerd, and a movie about one of the biggest female superheroes around fits into his wheelhouse quite nicely. And though he was Marvel’s go-to guy for a while, it’s not like a union with DC is all that strange — in fact, he penned a Wonder Woman script nearly a decade ago, back when the DCEU was a mere glimmer in Warner’s eye.
But, once again, I didn’t expect that Whedon would create another big comic book movie, especially so soon after the last one. At this point, Whedon can whatever the hell he wants, for perhaps the first time in his career. The fact that “anything he wanted” wasn’t an original idea is surprising — but I guess the pull of the comic book movie is just too much, even for him. Let’s just hope that WB treats him more like Zack Snyder, rather than David Ayer. He deserves a smooth experience with this one.
On the other side of the Warner Bros. project coin we have Akira, entering its 4000th year of pre-production. The anime adaptation has cycled through many directors through the years, from Justin Lin to Jaume Collet-Serra. Recently the project was courting either Daniel Espinosa (Life) and David Sandberg (Light’s Out), with the two reportedly vying for the job. But apparently another competitor has entered the fray: none other than Jordan Peele, the second half of Key and Peele and the writer/director behind Get Out. The latter project was a surprise hit, approaching an eye-popping $160 million at the box office. It’s certainly the success of the film that has WB going after Peele, with The Tracking Board claiming that the studio is “moving aggressively to lock” him in.
Whether or not Peele will actually sign on, though, is unclear. Like with Whedon, I kind of assumed that Peele would utilize the success of Get Out to make further, perhaps weirder original movies. The last thing I expected him to do was sign on for a live-action anime movie. But, hell, Peele proved he knew what he was doing in Get Out, and maybe he is a big fan of the original or something. Stranger things have happened. Like the star of this skit becoming a big time Hollywood director, for instance:
Either way, both Jordan Peele and Joss Whedon are going to be venturing into some pretty rocky territory here. Whedon of course has the baggage of the underwhelming DCU holding him down, and Peele would have to contend with…well, making a live-action Akira movie. But they are really talented guys so, if they really want to do these movies…god speed to the both of them, I guess.