TIME Culture

Marvel Is Actually Going to Publish That Sexist Spider-Woman Cover

Spider-Woman #1 Variant Cover by Milo Manara Marvel Comics

But don't worry: The words 'Spider-Woman' are covering her butt, so it's fine, right?

Remember that ludicrously objectified version of the Spider-Woman No. 1 cover from August—the one that made Spider-Woman’s bottom look like an apple? The alternate cover that drew fan outrage is now getting published on Thursday with one major tweak: The words “Spider-Woman” will now cover the offending derriere.

It’s unclear what Marvel hoped to accomplish by the strategic positioning of the title: Perhaps it thought nobody would notice.

Marvel Comics and Marvel Studios have made headlines this year for embracing their female heroes: In July, Marvel Comics revealed that a woman would be taking up the hammer of Thor, and earlier this month the studio announced a Captain Marvel movie slated for 2017, the first female-centric film from the studio. Even the announcement of the Spider-Woman cover at San Diego Comic Con was enthusiastically received by female fans of the comic who were excited that a female character in the Spider-Man universe was getting a big PR bump.

That’s why female fans are particularly disappointed in the company for overly-sexualizing what they hoped would be an empowering female character on the cover. Even worse, artist Milo Manara seems to have based the cover on an erotic image he had drawn earlier in his career of a nude woman lying bottom-up in front of a gang of men. The woman-focused entertainment site, The Mary Sue, even mocked the image with several memes.

Here’s the original image:

Spider-Woman #1 Variant Cover by Milo Manara Marvel Comics
TIME movies

Marvel Probes Google Over The Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer Leak

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

A federal judge granted a subpoena request for information on the user suspected of uploading the trailer

A federal judge has granted Disney-owned Marvel Studios its subpoena request to dig into how The Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer leaked onto the internet two weeks ago.

Marvel’s Nov. 5 subpoena asks Google for “all identifying information for the user ‘John Gazelle,'” who Marvel claims uploaded the file onto Google Drive, according to court documents obtained by Deadline. The subpoena asks Google for the following information: “when the account or profile of ‘John Gazelle’ was established, billing or administrative records that establish the name(s), address(es), telephone number(s), email address(es), IP address(es) used by such user, account number(s).”

The subpoena requests that Google produce the information by Nov. 18.

Marvel dropped a teaser trailer for the film on Oct. 22, shortly after its premature leak online. The trailer has garnered over 56 million views on YouTube.


TIME movies

A Comic Book Dummy’s Guide to the Marvel Universe Plan


Everything you need to know about Marvel's upcoming slate of movies — and the characters that populate them

On Tuesday, Disney’s Marvel Studios made some major announcements about the future of its superheroes on the big screen. Studio head Kevin Feige laid out the plan through 2019, and it includes some very obscure superheroes. While comic book fans everywhere are pumped, the millions of people who paid to make the Iron Man movies blockbusters probably don’t even know who Captain Marvel is, or how the big purple guy from the Guardians of the Galaxy movies relates to the Infinity Gauntlet.

So for those of us who aren’t comic book experts, here’s a breakdown of who these new superheroes are, what the Avengers’ next adventure might be, and what the next five years of summer movies will look like.

Ultron (The Avengers: Age of Ultron, May 1, 2015)

Let’s start out with the core of Marvel’s empire: the Avengers. A quick refresher on this crew: the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (which now have their own television show) led by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) bring together the Avengers Initiative: Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). These superheroes are assisted by agents Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). In the last movie, they saved the world from Thor’s brother Loki who used an object called the Tesseract to build a wormhole and invade earth.

So now that we’ve dispatched of the Tesseract, what’s next? The titular villain in the sequel, Ultron, is a machine originally created by Dr. Hank Pym, who was once Ant-Man (more on that in a second). Ultron became sentient and rebelled, as machines always tend to do in these sorts of situations. Ultron’s ultimate goal is total destruction of the human race, and he’s arguably the Avenger’s biggest adversary in the comics. He’ll be played by James Spader in the movie.

Ant-Man (Ant-Man, July 17, 2015)

Since we’re on the topic of Hank Pym, let’s talk Ant-Man. The premise of the film is that a con man and electronics expert named Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) receives the Ant-Man costume and technology from his mentor Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). Ant-Man is able to reduce himself to the size of an ant while gaining superhuman strength, and can will other objects to change size. He also has a cybernetic helmet that allows him to communicate with and control insects. (Useful!)

The casting of Rudd (Role Models, Knocked Up) and tapping of director Peyron Reed (Bring It On, Yes Man) indicates that the movie will have a strong comedic element.

Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy..Thanos (voiced by Josh Brolin)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel 2014
Thanos in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Film Frame/Marvel Studios

Thanos (The Avengers: Infinity War, Part I: May 4, 2018 and Part II: May 3, 2019)

Yes, Age of Ultron is still half a year away, and we’re already talking about the third Avengers movie. Or, rather, the third and fourth Avengers movies. Marvel announced that The Avengers: Infinity War will be released in two parts because — well, why not?

The big bad in Avengers: Infinity War will be Thanos (Josh Brolin), first seen at the very end of The Avengers and again as an evil puppet-master in Guardians of the Galaxy who adopted and raised Gamora (Zoe Saldana). This hasn’t come up in the movies yet, but in comic book lore, Thanos is in love with the Mistress Death (the female embodiment of death — yes, really) and wants to impress her by killing everyone in the galaxy.

How does Thanos plan to do this? Well, he possesses this thing called the Infinity Guantlet — basically a metal glove encrusted with a lot of powerful gems that gives him power over time, space and all living beings. Yep — that’s a pretty serious weapon. Presumably Thanos doesn’t have all the gems he needs; otherwise, there would be no movie. Feige has said that the Tesseract from The Avengers was actually one of the Infinity Stones needed to make the gauntlet work, and so was the stone everyone’s trying to get their hands on in Guardians.

Given that Thanos has already appeared in two Marvel franchise, this movie is likely going to have a lot of superheroes in it.

Ragnarok (Thor: Ragnarok, July 28, 2017)

Thor: Ragnarok will have Thor’s Chris Hemsworth facing off against…Chris Hemsworth. Ragnarok is an evil cyborg clone of Thor created by an unexpected source.

Captain America vs. Iron Man (Captain America: Civil War, May 6, 2016)

The other major news in the world of the Avengers heroes is that Captain America 3 will follow the “Civil War” comics storyline. At this point, any interpretation of what that means is speculation, but here’s how it plays out in the comics.

After a superhero-related disaster, the U.S. government puts its foot down: all superheroes will have to register with the government. No more secret identities. Obviously, this is controversial among the masked men and women. Superheroes take their sides: Tony Stark becomes the poster boy of the government’s plan, while Captain America (despite his name) believes this is the first step towards fascism in America and goes underground. It’s at this point that Ragnarok comes into the picture, though I won’t spoil how.

Basically, expect some sort of supremely watchable epic battle between Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans. People are very excited about this.

Black Panther concept art Marvel Studios

Black Panther (Black Panther, Nov. 3, 2017)

Black Panther will be the first lead black superhero in a Marvel movie. (Up until now, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Don Cheadle as Rhodey, Idris Elba as Heimdall and Anthony Mackie as Falcon have all played sidekick-type roles in the films. That may change in the upcoming Captain America movies, since it’s rumored that Mackie will get to take up the role of Captain America at some point.)

T’Challa, a.k.a. Black Panther, hails from the fictional country of Wakanda, a technologically advanced African nation. In the comic books, the Black Panther title is given to the chief of the Panther Tribe in Wakanda, which T’Challa’s father, T’Chaka, holds at the time of his birth. His father is later killed by Klaw over a a rare metal T’Chaka discovered called Vibranium. (Coincidentally, Captain America’s shield is made from this metal.) T’Challa, who has no superpowers, begins to train to avenge his father. He ends up living a double life in Wakanda and in America, where he befriends the Avengers. (He also has a relationship with X-Men’s Storm in the comic books, but since Marvel Studios doesn’t own the rights to X-Men, I doubt she’ll be showing up.)

The role of Black Panther will be filled by Chadwick Boseman, who’s played James Brown in Get on Up and Jackie Robinson in 42. And Marvel’s going all in with this hero. According to Deadline, he has signed up for five — yep, five — films as Black Panther (including, presumably, some Avengers films).

Captain Marvel (Captain Marvel, July 6, 2018)

Finally, Marvel Studios is making a woman-led superhero movie. Though the title of Captain Marvel has been held by men for many decades, in 2012, the mantle passed to a female character named Carol Danvers, previously known as Ms. Marvel. Danvers is part human and part Kree, an alien race you may remember from Guardians of the Galaxy. She trained in the Air Force, can fly, has super-strength and has been kicking ass since feminist comic book writer Kelly Sue DeConnick started penning her series.

Marvel is playing catch-up when it comes to female superheroes: Warner Bros. has already announced a Wonder Woman movie starring Gal Gadot (who will also appear in 2016’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice), and Sony has a movie based on a female character from the Spider-Man universe in the works. Feige struggled this summer to answer why they hadn’t already made a female led movie, but hinted that something like this was coming.

Avengers: Age of Ultron
Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) Marvel

What about Black Widow?

The Captain Marvel announcement comes as something of a surprise, given that Marvel already has a major female superhero in its film arsenal: Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow. Black Widow, or Natasha Romanoff, works for the spy agency S.H.I.E.L.D. and has appeared in Iron Man 2, The Avengers and Captain America: Winder Soldier. Fans have been lobbying for Black Widow to get her own franchise, but Feige says they shouldn’t hold their breath.

“Black Widow couldn’t be more important as an Avenger, but like Hulk, the Avengers films will be the films where they play a primary role,” said Feige. “Her part in Avengers: Age of Ultron is very, very big and further develops her character. The plans we have for her through the rest of the Avengers saga are very big and she is a linchpin, in fact, to those films. So instead of taking her out there or doing a prequel which we haven’t done yet, we’re continuing the forward momentum of the continuity of the Cinematic Universe, of which Widow is a key part.”

Sorry, Scar-Jo fans.

Inhumans (Inhumans, Nov. 2, 2018)

The Inhumans movie will introduce dozens of new superheroes. The comic focuses on the royal family of the Inhuman race — the result of aliens called the Kree (again, see Guardians of the Galaxy) experimenting on Earth’s primitive homo sapiens to create genetically superior people. The Inhuman royal family is headed by Black Bolt, who can level a city with his voice.

Doctor Strange (Doctor Strange, November 4, 2016)

Marvel is officially headed for the supernatural realm — and there’s a possibility that Benedict Cumberbatch will be at the helm.

Doctor Strange starts out as an arrogant surgeon, then gets into a car accident that destroys his hands. (Those are kind of an important asset for a surgeon.) Desperate to find a cure for the loss of his fine motor skills, he searches the darkest corners of the world for a solution. Eventually he meets a person called The Ancient One who introduces him to the mystic arts. Eventually, Doctor Strange becomes the guy you turn to when you need to battle magical forces.

This movie promises a lot of psychedelic CGI. Expect it to be very different from the Avengers films. But Marvel proved this summer that it can succeed when it ventures off the beaten path. Which brings me to…

Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel

Guardians of the Galaxy (Guardians of the Galaxy 2, May 5, 2017)

Unless you spent this summer under a rock, you probably saw Guardians of the Galaxy, the highest-grossing movie of the year so far. And the Guardians are starting to serve as sort of a lynch pin for this whole universe; the Kree, which we first met this summer, pop up in the Inhumans and Captain Marvel origin stories. So though they seemed like a joke when that video of Bradley Cooper voicing a raccoon surfaced, they’re kind of a big deal now. For those of you who didn’t make it to the first movie, here’s the cast of rag-tag characters that will be returning in May 2017:

Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star-Lord (Chris Pratt): Kidnapped from earth as a kid, Quill is a human who becomes the leader of the Guardians.

Gamora (Zoe Saldana): The last of a race called the Zen-Whoberi, Gamora was hand-groomed as an assassin by the villain Thanos. But she turned on her adopted father to join the Guardians and is commonly known as the Most Dangerous Woman in the Universe.

Drax (Dave Bautista): A superhuman warrior out to avenge his murdered family.

Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper): A talking raccoon with a fondness for large guns.

Groot (Vin Diesel): A talking tree that only says “groot.” Also enjoys dancing.

No Spider-Man…yet

Marvel licensed out the rights to Spider-Man to Sony long before it created its own studio. Though Feige didn’t make any announcements at this event, Marvel and Sony have reportedly been in talks to jointly own the character, allowing for a Spider-Man crossover into the Avengers universe.

Read next: Marvel Unveils Superhero Five-Year Plan

TIME movies

Meet Black Panther, Marvel’s Newest Movie Superhero

The hero from Wakanda

Black Panther will officially join the Marvel cinematic universe in 2017, after the studio announced the superhero will get his own movie starring Chadwick Boseman, who previously starred as Jackie Robinson in the biopic 42.

The superhero, whose “real name” is T’Challa, hails from the fictional African country of Wakanda and uses claws and other weapons made from vibranium, a special metallic element that can absorb vibrations.

The movie comes out on Nov. 3, 2017.

Read next: Marvel Unveils Superhero Five-Year Plan

TIME movies

Marvel Unveils Superhero Five-Year Plan


Get ready for more Avengers, another Captain America and more

Marvel Studios announced its upcoming slate of movies through 2019, which include two previously unannounced Avengers sequels as well as its first solo female superhero movie and its first solo black superhero movie.

At an event Tuesday, the company unveiled “Phase Three” — movies it plans to make after Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man arrive next May and July, respectively. Those movies include two more Avengers films (the two-part Avengers: Infinity War), a third Thor film, a third Captain America movie, as well as a few new superheroes. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 will now also arrive on May 5 in 2017, after previously being scheduled for a July 2017 release.

Actor Chadwick Boseman will play the Black Panther, who will become the first black Marvel superhero to get his own movie. The character Carol Danvers will come to life as Captain Marvel, the first female superhero from Marvel to get her own movie.

The big announcement followed Warner Bros.’ similar unveiling of the movies it has in the works through 2020, which include The Flash (starring Ezra Miller) in 2018.

The full list of titles and release dates is as follows:

Avengers: Age of Ultron, May 1, 2015
Ant-Man, July 17, 2015
Captain America: Civil War, May 6, 2016
Doctor Strange, Nov. 4, 2016
Guardians of the Galaxy 2, May 5, 2017
Thor: Ragnarok, July 28, 2017
Black Panther, Nov. 3, 2017
Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1, May 4, 2018
Captain Marvel, July 6, 2018
Inhumans, Nov. 2, 2018
Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2, May 3, 2019

Read next: Meet Black Panther, Marvel’s Newest Movie Superhero

TIME movies

Why Benedict Cumberbatch Should Play Doctor Strange

Graham Norton Show - London
Graham Norton Show - London. Benedict Cumberbatch during filming of the Graham Norton Show at the London Studios, London, to be aired on BBC One on Friday evening. Picture date: Thursday October 23, 2014. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire URN:21270396 Yui Mok—PA Wire/Press Association Images

Marvel's rumored to be negotiating with the Sherlock star. He's the perfect fit

Benedict Cumberbatch is reportedly in negotiations to star in Marvel’s Doctor Strange adaptation, one of many planned superhero movies within the universe of The Avengers.

The British actor and world-famous photobombardier has no shortage of accolades these days—he won an Emmy for Sherlock this year and is already rumored to be a frontrunner in the Oscar race for his performance as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game. But this role, should the rumors prove true, would be a chance for the charismatic rising star, charming in just about every interview he gives, to finally become a household name.

In the comics, Doctor Strange is a powerful magician entrusted with protecting planet Earth from supernatural, extra-planetary forces. “Although he moved fearlessly between realities like a prototype psychonaut, his mission as Sorcerer Supreme was ultimately about keeping the doors of perception closed,” writes Grantland’s Alex Pappademas.

Marvel clearly wants an actor with gravitas. If reports are to be believed, the list of considerations for the role include the likes of Joaquin Phoenix–on a winning streak after Her, The Master, and the upcoming Pynchon adaptation Inherent Vice—along with Dallas Buyers Club Oscar-winner Jared Leto. But while his competition is talented, Cumberbatch may be the wisest choice of his generation’s heavyweight actors.

First, there’s Cumberbatch’s physical appearance, which lends well to a surreal cinematic universe. If Doctor Strange is to be significantly more surreal than other superhero movies, it needs a more, to put it bluntly, freaky-looking star. Unlike Phoenix, Leto, or other stars around the same age, Cumberbatch has narrow, wide-set eyes and vertiginous cheekbones. To look at him is to be transported into a universe slightly removed from our own. It’s an aesthetic that worked in his favor as Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness.

Cumberbatch is famous, of course, but far less a celebrity-at-large than any of the other actors rumored to be in contention for the role, so he will enter the Marvel Universe, like Chris Hemsworth did, with less pre-existing baggage. (Before he picked up Thor’s hammer, Hemsworth was best known as the star of an Australian soap opera.) Cumberbatch’s vocal fan base will easily help make this movie a hit, but, really, it’s his relative unfamiliarity that makes this a good call. He’s an actor who can fill a screen without becoming bigger than the film itself.

TIME Comics

See How Marvel’s Wolverine Has Evolved Over The Years

The iconic superhero turns 40

From Logan to James Howlett, the iconic Marvel superhero most people know simply as Wolverine has gone by many names and even more costumes since he was first introduced as a cameo in The Incredible Hulk #180 in October 1974. In honor of Wolverine’s 40th anniversary in October 2014, take a look back at the many renditions he’s seen over the years since his creation.

A version of this infographic first appeared on HalloweenCostumes.com.

TIME Television

Robert Downey Jr.: ‘No Plans’ for Iron Man 4

After he said on Ellen there would be another movie

Robert Downey Jr. told David Letterman Tuesday night that there are no plans for an Iron Man 4. Fans were buzzing at the prospect of a fourth film after Downey Jr. hinted about it on Ellen that same day.

In a recent article on Deadline, Downey Jr. said he would do another Iron Man movie if Mel Gibson directed it, propelling the rumors for a fourth movie.

Although he quashed hopes of a new Iron Man release on Late Night, he did tell Letterman on Late Night that he’s “going to do other stuff with Marvel.” Avengers, assemble?

TIME Books

See Thor’s Various Incarnations Over The Years

From architect to alien, take a look back at those who were worthy to hold the hammer Mjolnir and wield the powers of Thor

TIME Television

See the First Picture of Lucy Lawless in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Kelsey McNeal—ABC

Xena gets a new suit

Lucy Lawless has joined the season two cast of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Best known for her role as the Xena in the ’90s television hit Xena: Warrior Princess, Lawless will get to try her hand at something completely different, portraying veteran S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Isabelle Hartley, who assists Director Coulson (Clark Gregg) with his unenviable task of rebuilding S.H.I.E.L.D into the formidable spy agency it once was.

No word yet on whether or not her character gets a vibranium chakram. One can only hope.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D premieres on September 23.


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