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Fanboy Fix: Jessica Biel Out of 'The Wolverine,' Raimi Drops 'Warcraft,' Marvel May Try to Fit 'Ant-Man' into 2014 Slate

In superhero news...

In what was certainly a surprise nugget of news during Comic-Con, sites reported that Jessica Biel had been tapped to play Viper in the upcoming Fox sequel The Wolverine. At Comic-Con, Biel told HitFix that the casting wasn't a done deal and now Collider reports that "talks have broken down" between Biel's reps and the studio and that other actresses are now being considered for the role.

The Wolverine begins shooting next month in Australia and Japan. Hugh Jackman is reprising the title role while Hiroyuki Sanada, Hal Yamanouchi, Tao Okamoto and Rila Fukushima have all signed on in co-starring roles. The film, directed by James Mangold, is based heavily on the early '80s Chris Claremont/Frank Miller miniseries that finds Wolverine finding love and betrayal with members of the Yashida clan.

Here's a little background on Viper. She blackmails Wolverine into marrying her as a means of securing her criminal empire in Madripoor. Sometime later, her body became inhabited by the spirit of Ogun and Wolverine mortally wounded her as a means of driving the spirit from her dying body. In return for seeking medical attention to save her life, Wolverine demanded a divorce. It was later implied though, that she actually had feelings for Wolverine. How much of this works into Mangold's Wolverine remains to be seen.

The Wolverine is aiming at a July 26, 2013 release date. Know that we know Viper is part of the storyline, who do you think should replace Biel?

After debuting test footage shot only a few weeks prior to Comic-Con, Edgar Wright's Ant-Man may have the inside track on becoming Marvel's third movie of 2014. During their Hall H panel, Marvel Studios laid out a pretty solid game plan of two movies a year including Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World for 2013 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014 as part of their Phase 2 plans. But now there's buzz that Wright's Ant-Man could squeeze into a late 2014 date, if the director is able to jump right into production following The World's End.

Marvel co-president Louis D'Esposito said in an interview that there, "might be an opportunity where we do a third film, depending on [Wright's] schedule when he finishes World's End. But he's such a competent filmmaker, the script is in great shape. The test will prove a lot of things on the visual effects front: how do we handle the shrinking, obviously, and the scale issues, because when he's small, he's a half-inch. So we're gonna work that out, maybe that's when we do a third film."

It's a safe bet that though Marvel hasn't explicitly announced it, we can expect Avengers 2 to arrive in 2015 and if the studio plans to keep with the two-movies-a-year model, might Ant-Man get bumped to 2015? Or is it better to squeeze him into the end of 2014?

Watch the full interview below, courtesy of Collider, in which D'Esposito talks about shooting the Item 47 short, signing actors to multi-picture options, the success of The Avengers (one "holy s-bomb" included), and 13:10 is where the three-movies-a-year talk begins.

 

In video game movie news...

It's been about five years since a World of Warcraft movie was first announced. The project got a boost of confidence when, in 2009, Sam Raimi signed on to direct. At the time, Raimi was coming off of two massive Spider-Man movies and it seemed if anyone could turn the popular role-playing game into a feature film, it was him. In 2010, a new writer was hired and Raimi was excited about an imminent World of Warcraft film.

Since the initial announcement, Raimi has three films to his credit – Spider-Man 3, the relatively successful horror flick Drag Me to Hell and next spring's Oz: The Great and Powerful. It appears the Oz movie is the reason why Raimi was dropped from the production.

Speaking to Crave Online at Comic-Con, Raimi stated he was no longer involved with the World of Warcraft movie. "Actually, they don't have me directing World of Warcraft anymore because when I took the Oz job, they had to move on to another director. They had to start making it."

Since the project seems to still be alive and the director's chair is now empty, who would you like to see helm this movie?

Follow along on Twitter @DerrickDeane and @Fandango.

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