First Official Image of Matt Damon in Neill Blomkamp's Elysium. Plus All the Latest Dark Knight Rises Secrets!

Does a release date change reveal Marvel's top-secret project? Iron Man 3 incorporates one of writer-director Shane Black's trademarks. Oz: The Great and Powerful has a poster. Plus more updates for Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, and The Walking Dead!

Spoilers from here on out!

Top image from The Dark Knight Rises.

The Dark Knight Rises

The complete set of the 50-page production notes for Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale's final Batman film is now online. While it doesn't give away any big plot points, it does help fill in some more information about the eight years that have elapsed between the end of The Dark Knight and the beginning of The Dark Knight Rises. So let's run through some of the highlights, starting with how Batman has changed when he returns from his self-imposed exile:

Although Bale was embarking on his third outing as Batman, he had to demonstrate more of a physical arc in "The Dark Knight Rises," as Bruce had not been the Caped Crusader for so many years. In the first two films, Bale employed a mixed martial arts discipline called Keysi, but that would have to be modified, reflecting his current condition and in response to the style of his opponent. Stunt coordinator Tom Struthers says, "We didn't drop Keysi, but we evolved it to another level to deal with the brutality of Bane."

The notes also reveal that it's Catwoman, not Bane, who brings Batman back out into the world, and screenwriter Jonathan Nolan explains how Anne Hathaway's character finally gets Bale's Batman to lighten up a bit:

Something about her morally ambiguous philosophy finally gives Batman someone he can relate to. In a weird way, she's the yin to his yang. The dynamic between them is so fresh-the playful way she kind of pokes fun at him-it sparks a connection between them and takes some of the somberness away from his character."

Perhaps the most interesting news comes from Gary Oldman, who offers a much clearer take on how eight years of using Batman's "villainy" to clean up the city has eaten away at Commissioner Gordon:

"It's a secret that's eaten away at him for years. Crime is at an all-time low in Gotham, but Gordon knows that it's tainted. Now he's ready to come clean, but there doesn't seem to be a right time or place, and he also questions if the city is ready for the truth. Then, because of Bane, he's in the field again. I think he's like a soldier who likes to be on the front lines, getting his hands dirty. He's probably been doing a lot of paper pushing in the intervening years and that has dampened his spirits. Now you really feel like the old Gordon is back."

Part of what brings Commissioner Gordon — and Bruce Wayne — back is the introduction of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's young cop John Blake, who Nolan describes as "a younger, more idealistic individual who, in a way, represents where they've come from...[and] who refuses to back down, regardless of the odds." Gordon-Levitt and Nolan's wife and producer Emma Thomas expand on that:

Gordon-Levitt: "John Blake is the kind of guy who probably always wanted to be a cop and dedicates himself to being excellent at his job. He is someone who believes in what he does and I admire that in anybody. In the midst of a lot of cynicism, he remains proud to be a police officer."

Thomas: "Gordon definitely sees something of himself as a young cop in John Blake. Everyone else seems to have lost focus because things have been so good, but Blake is the first to realize that something's up, and Gordon recognizes those instincts by promoting him and putting him on his team."

Finally, here are Christopher Nolan and Tom Hardy's takes on Bane:

Nolan: "When you're creating a monstrous presence like Bane in a movie, you could concentrate just on the physical or you could focus on the more psychological aspects. With Tom, I knew I would get the whole package. He is such an incredible actor; he was able to depict this beast of a man who has exceptional fighting skills, but also able to convey the soul of someone who is damaged inside as well as out. Tom is the kind of actor who relished the challenge of having to generate an entire performance with most of his face covered up. What he is able to do with just his eyes is truly amazing."

Hardy: "Bane has come to do a job and has no feelings of remorse or shame about the death and destruction he's causing. There is nothing ambiguous about Bane. He is clearly a villain - just a horrible piece of work...He is florid in his speech, but has the physicality of a gorilla. So while he is quite articulate, we also wanted to establish a very imposing presence."

There are still some more good quotes at the link, and you can read the entire thing here (PDF). [Comic Book Movie]


Amazing Spider-Man

When asked about the movie's cryptic mid-credits scene, in which an imprisoned Dr. Curt Connors is visited by a shadowy Oscorp representative, director Marc Webb and Lizard actor Rhys Ifans would only offer these hints:

Webb: "We wanted to convey that there were more forces at work than you may have initially thought. That's all I can say about that. But I invite speculation. I think it's very fun and interesting to listen to."
Ifans: "Connors is sent to an asylum, a high-security asylum, as you would be if you threw police towers across the Brooklyn Bridge. And he's visited by, shall we say, a representative from Oscorp. How he gets into that cell and how he leaves that cell without the guards knowing? We have yet to find out."

Webb wouldn't say whether this figure — whether it's Norman Osborn himself, Mysterio, Elektro, or some other villain, as have all been rumored — would be the main villain of the sequel, but he did say the unseen character would have a role in the future film(s). As for the return of the Lizard, Ifans said nothing is confirmed at this point, but he is at least happy his character is still alive. [MTV]


Iron Man 3

Here's a cryptic statement on what to expect from star Robert Downey, Jr.:

These things tend to, in Act 3, really become about the same old things. So let's really flip that. I feel like I don't know where you go after Iron Man 3. Leave it all on the field, you know?

[Via /Film]

There's reportedly a good chunk of location filming coming up in and around Wilmington, North Carolina, including at National Gypsum, Stevens Hardware, and some exterior shots at New Hanover Regional Medical Center that will feature a whopping "five actors", presumably most from the main cast, although it's not known specifically which ones. But perhaps my favorite detail is that the movie "will film Christmas scenes in Duplin County, N.C. later this month." Iron Man 3 writer-director Shane Black is famous for setting half of his eight screenplays around Christmas, including high-end 80s/90s action schlock Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout, and The Long Kiss Goodnight, plus the great Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which is arguably the movie that got Robert Downey, Jr. the Tony Stark role in the first place. So then, looks like we can add Iron Man 3 to that august list. [On Location Vacations]

Here's a pair of casting calls for the movie, which are done under the movie's fake production title Caged:

CAGED: Seeking Males or Females 18 -30, 4'7 -4'11 in height, weighing 100 or less lbs. Available to work as stand in/double several weeks in July. Must be ok with all night work.

CAGED: Need adult Males of African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, Middle Eastern ( as well as any and ALL other ethnic descents) for filming on July 10th & 11th. Must be available both dates. Ages 30 and up.

[Comic Book Movie]


Guardians of the Galaxy

Technically, Marvel Studios still hasn't confirmed that this is their other 2014 project, so feel free to read that in as "Untitled Marvel Movie." Anyway, Marvel Studios has moved the release date of their second 2014 release — the first is Captain America 2 in April — from May 16 to August 1. While August 1 is still very much summer movie territory, it's a much easier place to launch a new, untested property — say, like Guardians of the Galaxy, which isn't even necessarily all that well known even among comic book fans (I had somehow managed to never hear about them until the recent movie rumors, I'll admit) — than the middle of May, which is when a ton of other blockbusters are set to be released. This shouldn't be taken as confirmation that Guardians of the Galaxy is indeed Marvel's other 2014 project — but it sure doesn't hurt that theory.


Elysium

Here's the first official image of Matt Damon's freedom-fighting cyborg in District 9 director Neil Blomkamp's latest. The image appears in the new Entertainment Weekly, and a higher quality version is likely to surface soon enough. I've also included the synopsis below as a refresher on just how much awesome we can reasonably expect:

In the year 2159 two classes of people exist: the very wealthy who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. Secretary Rhodes (Jodie Foster), a hard line government official, will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve the luxurious lifestyle of the citizens of Elysium. That doesn't stop the people of Earth from trying to get in, by any means they can. When unlucky Max (Matt Damon) is backed into a corner, he agrees to take on a daunting mission that if successful will not only save his life, but could bring equality to these polarized worlds.

[/Film]


Oz the Great and Powerful

We haven't seen or heard much about the Wizard of Oz prequel from Spider-Man director Sam Raimi and occasional General Hospital guest star James Franco, with only a single terrible promo image to show for over a year of work. Well now, here's a much nicer image from the movie — albeit one that's not, you know, actually from the movie itself. Anyway, as vaguely artsy teaser posters go, it's perfectly respectable. [/Film]


Doctor Who

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As we mentioned a couple of days ago, British acting legend Diana Rigg and her real-life daughter Rachel Stirling will appear in an episode in the second half of the upcoming seven series. Since then, there's been a bit more information on the episode, which is written by Doctor Who stalwart Mark Gatiss.

Rumored to be called "The Crimson Horror", the episode is reportedly the ninth episode of the series — not including the Christmas special, which slots in between episodes five and six and introduces Jenna-Louise Coleman's new companion. Moreover, the episode reportedly also features Downton Abbey's Brendan Patricks in a dual role as Jeremiah and Edmund, and the return of Neve McIntosh's Victorian Silurian Madame Vastra from "A Good Man Goes To War." (Mea culpa here — the British tabloid The Daily Star claimed this a month or so back, but I dismissed it pretty much out of hand because the specifics didn't sound right.) While McIntosh hasn't been spotted on set, Catrin Stewart, who plays Vastra's human servant, lover, and fellow warrior Jenny, has been spotted in the recent set images (as has Patricks), which I've included again up above. Finally, Diana Rigg's character is reportedly called Winifred Gillyflower, although her nickname is rumored to be the Ice Lady.

Also, the other Mark Gatiss episode, the one guest starring David Warner and Game of Thrones costar Liam Cunningham, is currently thought to be the seventh episode, though obviously very little of this is confirmed. Images via CozyCot., tons more at the link. [Life, Doctor Who, and Combom and Blogtor Who]


Game of Thrones

Asim Ahmad, a British-raised theater actor whose past entertainment work include uncredited bit parts in The Dark Knight and Inception as well as doing some writing for Marvel Comics in the early 00s, is rumored to have been cast as Thoros of Myr, a red priest of the Lord of Light and fearsome warrior. The character was mentioned in the first season (and actually appeared in the first book), and according to one admittedly very secondhand source is a part that "would require [Ahmad] to be in 13 episodes." Since each Game of Thrones season is definitely only ten episodes — it's the only way to keep the gargantuan production costs even remotely under control — there's a lot of ways to parse that, but the simplest is probably just to say it's a bit of garbled information and that the key thing is that Ahmad — who has tweeted an acknowledgment of the rumors — seems decently likely to be taking on the role, and it should be a major part in the series. Of course, it's still best to take these things with a grain of salt until we have something more substantial. [SpoilerTV]


True Blood

Joe Manganiello discusses Alcide and Sookie's recent night of passion in terms that almost make it sound as though the show really is going to incorporate star Anna Paquin's real-life pregnancy:

Their relationship goes a lot deeper than that. The fun thing about that scene is that it plays really real and adult. Kids at home, that is how babies are made."

Of course, it's wisest not to actually take that literally until we hear something more substantial. [TV Guide]


The Walking Dead

Showrunner Glen Mazzara discusses the relationship between Glenn and Maggie:

"Glenn and Maggie's relationship is incredibly important to the world of The Walking Dead. It is a ray of hope. Love was new territory for Glenn last season and it threw him for a loop. We're excited to see him back to the resourceful, wily, go-getter of the first season."

[TV Guide]


Person of Interest

The second season premiere is reportedly called "The Contingency." [SpoilerTV]


Additional reporting by Amanda Yesilbas and Charlie Jane Anders.