Tomorrow's Theater ... Today

Greg Dean Schmitz

FML's newest column continues this week with upcoming movies associated with this week's Avengers: Endgame.

Dark Phoenix (6/7/2019)
Technically, at this point, 20th Century Fox's 'Dark Phoenix' is not directly connected to 'Avengers: Endgame.' Production started on this (sort of) final movie in Fox's X-Men franchise (check out The New Mutants below) before Disney had started to acquire the Fox properties. Once that happened, Fox halted immediate plans for 2020 and beyond (titles like X-Force, Gambit, and Kitty Pryde). In the long term, Marvel's X-Men and Fantastic Four characters will be merged in with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but first, moviegoers will get two last chances to see Fox's take on those characters. The actual X-Men team will have their last adventure with 'Dark Phoenix,' the second live-action adaptation of "The Dark Phoenix Saga" (the first was 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand).

Men in Black: International (6/14/2019)
Until we or you actually see 'Avengers: Endgame,' we won't have an idea about the future of Chris Hemsworth's Thor character. Hemsworth does, however, already have another ambitious franchise lined up, starting with this summer's 'Men in Black: International.' Hemsworth and his Thor: Ragnarok costar Tessa Thompson will be taking over the jobs of alien-fighting secret agents from Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. To go along with 'Avengers: Endgame,' Sony Pictures released a new trailer this week that shows off the new aliens and fancy gadgets. Especially watch out for the tiny alien Pawny, as voiced by Kumail Nanjiani from 'The Big Sick' and HBO's 'Silicon Valley.'

Spider-Man: Far from Home (7/2/2019)
Just based on how 'Avengers: Infinity War 'ended, most fans are still bewildered whenever they see anything about 'Spider-Man: Far from Home.' There are still lots of ways (besides the obvious) to explain how 'Spider-Man: Far from Home' even exists (like it being a prequel). Whatever the explanation, the hints that have been dropped about the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe suggest a new paradigm (to drop in a probably unnecessarily fancy word). Tom Holland will be joined in his second solo 'Spider-Man' movie by Jake Gyllenhaal, who's sporting a pretty direct live-action version of the suit worn by long-time Spidey villain Mysterio (including the "fish bowl" helmet!). We also see most of Peter Parker's high school friends here, his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), Tony Stark's helper Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), and some scary new monsters.

The New Mutants (8/2/2019)
'Dark Phoenix' is being billed as the final X-Men movie from 20th Century Fox (before Kevin Feige takes over the franchise). It's not, however, technically the last of Fox's movies based on Marvel Comics, because that distinction goes to 'The New Mutants'. Originally scheduled for release in early 2018, it was yanked from the calendar (despite the trailers having already been played a lot in theaters), and pushed way back to August of this year. 'The New Mutants' appears to be sort of like Logan, a film that's set in the world of X-Men and mutants but more of a spinoff than a direct sequel. Like how 'Dark Phoenix' features Sophie Turner (Sansa from Game of Thrones) in the title role, one of the young stars of 'The New Mutants' is Maisie Williams, who plays Sansa's sister Arya Stark, as the mutant werewolf Wolfsbane. Her costars also include Charlie Heaton from 'Stranger Things' and Anya Taylor-Joy from 'Split' and 'The Witch.'

Spies in Disguise (9/13/2019)
Will Smith is not in 'Avengers: Endgame' or any other Marvel movie (he threw his star power behind DC Comics and Suicide Squad instead). Coincidentally, however, he's got two movies coming out in a few months that both do have ties to the 'Avengers: Endgame' cast. The first of these movies is the animated adventure 'Spies in Disguise,' which features Will Smith's voice in the lead role as a human spy who has to undercover as a pigeon. Smith's spy will be supported by operatives called Ears (DJ Khaled) and Eyes, voiced by Karen Gillan, who plays the cyborg alien anti-hero Nebula in 'Avengers: Endgame.'

Gemini Man (10/11/2019)
Will Smith does have a busy 2019, starting with next month's 'Aladdin' (where he takes over the Genie from the late Robin Williams), and continuing with the aforementioned 'Spies in Disguise' adventure comedy. Will Smith's third film will be 'Gemini Man,' which has the distinction of being one of Hollywood's longest-stewing projects this year, since it started development in 1997 (the year that Will Smith's first 'Men in Black' movie came out, to really put this delay in perspective). That connection to the late 1990s is really driven home by the premise, which has Will Smith playing two different assassin characters, with one of them being a 25-year-old clone (who's tasked with killing his older self). One of the costars of 'Gemini Man' is Benedict Wong, who's reportedly reprising his Doctor Strange character of Wong in 'Avengers: Endgame.'

Knives Out (11/27/2019) (Chris Evans)
Although there could be any number of characters who end their run in 'Avengers: Endgame' (or whose departure in 'Avengers: Infinity War' is confirmed), the one actor who officially announced his departure is Chris Evans, AKA "Captain America." Soon after, it was announced that Chris Evans was going to headline an ensemble cast in a murder mystery called 'Knives Out.' One of the reasons many fans are interested in 'Knives Out' besides the all-star cast is that it was written and directed by Rian Johnson as his next project after last year's 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi.' Some of the stars that will be joining Chris Evans are Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, Christopher Plummer, Michael Shannon, and relative newcomer Katherine Langford (who has a mystery role in 'Avengers: Endgame'). We probably won't get a 'Knives Out' trailer until this summer (or maybe even in early fall), so for now, here's director Rian Johnson talking about it.