By Drew Taylor | The Playlist September 9, 2013 at 5:30PM
Nerds are an easily excitable bunch, especially if they're in the position of also being journalists (or maybe "journalists" with airquotes is a better distinction), where flights of fancy and endless speculation can easily usurp actual reporting. Such is the case with boundless theorizing about Benedict Cumberbatch being in "Star Wars: Episode VII," which seems to be more a case of collective wishful thinking than anything concrete or remotely plausible. Well, there's even more on that subject (prepare your eyes, as they're about to roll), as well as further details on that mysterious Bad Robot trailer from a few weeks ago and Vin Diesel running his mouth again about what he's doing with Marvel. Have the largest grain of salt you can find at the ready.
First, just to get this out of the way, Benedict Cumberbatch gave an interview with the UK's The Telegraph (hilariously, all of the interviews he gave for his new film "The Fifth Estate," about the power of citizen journalism, he gave to old school newspapers). When they asked about the possibility of him appearing in J.J. Abrams' "Star Wars – Episode VII," he remained coy. “Of course I’d love to do Star Wars and work with JJ Abrams again because we had such a good time on 'Star Trek,'” he told the paper, referring to his appearance as (bafflingly) Khan in Abrams' "Star Trek Into Darkness." “But nobody has been cast and there are no offers out to anyone apart from the regulars who are returning. So that’s that rumor quashed.” Then the actor said ("with a grin," according to the paper): “We’ll have to wait and see.”
So yeah, people are reading into that smirk with some reporters going as far as calling it a "99% certainty" thanks to the above mentioned quote. Wait, what? Really? What seems to compound the issue is that Cumberbatch left Guillermo del Toro's "Crimson Peak." Everyone in the geek community loves del Toro, and for good reason, he's smart and makes good movies and what's more he's "one of them." So how could anyone, even Cumberbatch, leave one of his movies? Unless, of course, the actor was switching over to something even more impressive and hugely scaled… Like "Star Wars." It's just that none of this seems to be a reality. And no matter how much you may wish upon a star, especially a star that glimmers in a galaxy far, far away, this probably isn't going to happen.
Next up on the disappoint-trometer: that the mysterious Bad Robot trailer released a few weeks ago appears to be for "S.," a new novel conceived by J.J. Abrams and written by novelist Doug Dorst. Of course, since this is plotted by Abrams, it's a crazy puzzle box, scavenger hunt, interactive fandango. A second trailer for the book has been released (you can watch it below), one that is comprised of a narrative through-line but also "notes, questions, and confrontations" scribbled in the margins, supposedly by two different people reading the book. There's also some real world component to the book, too. Back at BookExpo in May, Little, Brown, the publishing house behind the flummoxing event, passed out postcards from Brazil, said to the "first clue" to the ongoing mystery. And how exactly are we supposed to read this on our Kindle? The book comes out on October 29th, just in time for spooky Halloween.
While this should surprise exactly no one, Vin Diesel shooting his mouth off again about his involvement with Marvel. The "Fast and the Furious" icon (whose gore-splattered passion project "Riddick" recently debuted at #1) is scheduled to be the voice of tree-man Groot in "Guardians of the Galaxy," which by our estimation is the most exciting Marvel project coming down the pike. But rumors also persisted that he initially met with Marvel about a different project, a discussion that still could be ongoing. While talking to Maria Menounos, Diesel said, "When I met with Marvel it wasn't for anything immediate, it was to talk about a film that would be introduced in the Phase 3 part of Marvel — not for a few years," Diesel explained.
But wait! There's more! Diesel, who has the blood of a carny barker running through his veins (just look at his Facebook page), said that the project he's talking to Marvel about is "something so big I can't even talk about it because it's like the merging of brands in a way which I won't get into." His use of the word "brands" is interesting, especially since Marvel is owned by Disney, which has a number of tentacles that could intersect with the Marvel brand — things like Pixar, "Star Wars," hell, even The Muppets. The second most exciting Marvel project after "Guardians of the Galaxy" isn't "The Avengers: Age of Ultron" or even Edgar Wright's gonzo "Ant-Man," it's "Big Hero 6," which marks the first Disney animated feature based on a Marvel property. Based on the footage we've seen, it's going to be really impressive. And we wonder if it's this kind of brand mash-up that Diesel is alluding to.
Oh, on the subject of Marvel, it seems that the studio is planning more of its direct-to-video "One Shot" short films, including more appearances by Peggy Carter (portrayed by Hayley Atwell) from "Captain America: The First Avenger," who gets her own One-Shot in the form of "Agent Carter," scheduled to appear on the "Iron Man 3" Blu-ray and DVD, coming out September 24th. "What we've discussed is that there are going to be more Peggy Carter stories that we need to tell," Marvel's Louis D'Esposito, who oversees the series and has directed many of them, said. "She is wildly popular. Hayley loves it, and we love it. What we'll do and how we'll do it has not been determined yet, but those discussions have started. It's in our consciousness that we need to tell another Peggy Carter story, somehow. Yet to be figured out yet, though." D'Esposito then said they have a drawer full of ideas for the short films… So what minor character/situation do you think will be explored next?
Let the speculation begin!