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New “Avengers” set photos could be big spoilers

New “Avengers” set photos could be big spoilers (photo)

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Last week, we reported on a study that praised the benefits of spoiling the end of a movie and suggested that the more audiences know about a story going into it, the more enjoyment they’ll get out of it. If that’s really the case, than the latest batch of photos from the set of “The Avengers” should ensure that the film receives a standing ovation when it finally hits theaters.

Posted over at SuperHeroHype, the photos were shot around the Cleveland set, which is doubling for New York City in a key scene. While the main focus of the photos is actor Chris Evans in his Captain America uniform, there are a few other elements of the film that just might reveal (or confirm) a major plot point that’s been the stuff of rumors for the last year or so.

Consider this your official SPOILER ALERT, folks. There are potentially beneficial, enjoyment-enhancing images ahead!

In the new photos, Evans is front and center as Captain America, but he’s not the only character appearing in the shots. Not only are there a pair of actors clad head-to-toe in motion-capture suits, but they’re also wielding some strange weapons that may or may not be alien in nature.

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Thus far, the only villain that’s been confirmed for the film is Loki, Tom Hiddleston’s character from “Thor.” However, the presence of several actors in full motion-capture suits would seem to indicate that the trickster god won’t be the only person causing problems for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

A while back, a rumor made the rounds that script for “The Avengers” leaned heavily on a storyline involving the Kree-Skrull war — an intergalactic battle two alien races that spilled over onto Earth and forced the Avengers to take action. Given the look of the weapons and presence of those motion-capture suits (which allow a computer to create a digital image based on an actor’s movement), it certainly seems plausible that the photos show a brawl between Cap and invaders from outer space.

In fact, there’s even a video of the scene that’s found its way online:

Repeat after me: Spoilers are good for the soul… Spoilers are good for the soul… Spoilers are good for the soul…

What do you think is going on in the “Avengers” scene being filmed? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

Soap tv show

As the Spoof Turns

15 Hilarious Soap Opera Parodies

Catch the classic sitcom Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures Television

The soap opera is the indestructible core of television fandom. We celebrate modern series like The Wire and Breaking Bad with their ongoing storylines, but soap operas have been tangling more plot threads than a quilt for decades. Which is why pop culture enjoys parodying them so much.

Check out some of the funniest soap opera parodies below, and be sure to catch Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

1. Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

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Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was a cult hit soap parody from the mind of Norman Lear that poked daily fun at the genre with epic twists and WTF moments. The first season culminated in a perfect satire of ratings stunts, with Mary being both confined to a psychiatric facility and chosen to be part of a Nielsen ratings family.


2. IKEA Heights

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IKEA Heights proves that the soap opera is alive and well, even if it has to be filmed undercover at a ready-to-assemble furniture store totally unaware of what’s happening. This unique webseries brought the classic formula to a new medium. Even IKEA saw the funny side — but has asked that future filmmakers apply through proper channels.


3. Fresno

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When you’re parodying ’80s nighttime soaps like Dallas and Dynasty , everything about your show has to equally sumptuous. The 1986 CBS miniseries Fresno delivered with a high-powered cast (Carol Burnett, Teri Garr and more in haute couture clothes!) locked in the struggle for the survival of a raisin cartel.


4. Soap

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Soap was the nighttime response to daytime soap operas: a primetime skewering of everything both silly and satisfying about the source material. Plots including demonic possession and alien abduction made it a cult favorite, and necessitated the first televised “viewer discretion” disclaimer. It also broke ground for featuring one of the first gay characters on television in the form of Billy Crystal’s Jodie Dallas. Revisit (or discover for the first time) this classic sitcom every Saturday morning on IFC.


5. Too Many Cooks

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Possibly the most perfect viral video ever made, Too Many Cooks distilled almost every style of television in a single intro sequence. The soap opera elements are maybe the most hilarious, with more characters and sudden shocking twists in an intro than most TV scribes manage in an entire season.


6. Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace

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Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace was more mockery than any one medium could handle. The endless complications of Darkplace Hospital are presented as an ongoing horror soap opera with behind-the-scenes anecdotes from writer, director, star, and self-described “dreamweaver visionary” Garth Marenghi and astoundingly incompetent actor/producer Dean Learner.


7. “Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive,” MadTV

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Soap opera connoisseurs know that the most melodramatic plots are found in Korea. MADtv‘s parody Tae Do  (translation: Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive) features the struggles of mild-mannered characters with far more feelings than their souls, or subtitles, could ever cope with.


8. Twin Peaks

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Twin Peaks, the twisted parody of small town soaps like Peyton Place whose own creator repeatedly insists is not a parody, has endured through pop culture since it changed television forever when it debuted in 1990. The show even had it’s own soap within in a soap called…


9. “Invitation to Love,” Twin Peaks

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Twin Peaks didn’t just parody soap operas — it parodied itself parodying soap operas with the in-universe show Invitation to Love. That’s more layers of deceit and drama than most televised love triangles.


10. “As The Stomach Turns,” The Carol Burnett Show

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The Carol Burnett Show poked fun at soaps with this enduring take on As The World Turns. In a case of life imitating art, one story involving demonic possession would go on to happen for “real” on Days of Our Lives.


11. Days of our Lives (Friends Edition)

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Still airing today, Days of Our Lives is one of the most famous soap operas of all time. They’re also excellent sports, as they allowed Friends star Joey Tribbiani to star as Dr Drake Ramoray, the only doctor to date his own stalker (while pretending to be his own evil twin). And then return after a brain-transplant.

And let’s not forget the greatest soap opera parody line ever written: “Come on Joey, you’re going up against a guy who survived his own cremation!”


12. Acorn Antiques

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First appearing on the BBC sketch comedy series Victoria Wood As Seen on TV, Acorn Antiques combines almost every low-budget soap opera trope into one amazing whole. The staff of a small town antique store suffer a disproportional number of amnesiac love-triangles, while entire storylines suddenly appear and disappear without warning or resolution. Acorn Antiques was so popular, it went on to become a hit West End musical.


13. “Point Place,” That 70s Show

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In a memorable That ’70s Show episode, an unemployed Red is reduced to watching soaps all day. He becomes obsessed despite the usual Red common-sense objections (like complaining that it’s impossible to fall in love with someone in a coma). His dreams render his own life as Point Place, a melodramatic nightmare where Kitty leaves him because he’s unemployed. (Click here to see all airings of That ’70s Show on IFC.)


14. The Spoils of Babylon

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Bursting from the minds of Will Ferrell and creators Andrew Steele and Matt Piedmont, The Spoils of Babylon was a spectacular parody of soap operas and epic mini-series like The Thorn Birds. Taking the parody even further, Ferrell himself played Eric Jonrosh, the author of the book on which the series was based. Jonrosh returned in The Spoils Before Dying, a jazzy murder mystery with its own share of soapy twists and turns.

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15. All My Children Finale, SNL

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SNL‘s final celebration of one of the biggest soaps of all time is interrupted by a relentless series of revelations from stage managers, lighting designers, make-up artists, and more. All of whom seem to have been married to or murdered by (or both) each other.

“The Avengers” put “Runaways” on hold, but Marvel’s teen superheroes could team up in 2012

“The Avengers” put “Runaways” on hold, but Marvel’s teen superheroes could team up in 2012 (photo)

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With all of the action surrounding the run-up to “The Avengers,” it didn’t come as much of a surprise last year when Marvel Studios and Paramount announced plans to temporarily shelve “Runaways,” a film based on a team of teenage superheroes.

During a recent screenwriting panel, the author of the “Runaways” script confirmed that the success of “The Avengers” had indeed prompted Marvel to back-burner the teen superhero film, but also indicated that a finished script is ready and waiting for a potential 2012 green light.

“Basically, ‘The Avengers’ came along and everything else at Marvel got put on hold for a year,” said Drew Pearce during the panel (as reported by The Playlist). “But the script is there, we’re good go. It’s kind of like [being] at the airport when you’re waiting for your slot to take off with Marvel, and we’re hoping we get a slot next year. Fingers crossed. They’re very happy with it, so hopefully it happens.”

For those unfamiliar with the film’s source material, “Runaways” is based on an ongoing comic book series created by “Lost” writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist Adrian Alphona. The series followed a group of five L.A. teenagers who discover that their parents are actually part of secret supervillain cabal that controls the West Coast. They decide to take down their parents, and use a variety of inherited abilities and street smarts to bring down the bad guys.

The series was notable for being canceled early on but eventually returning due to a massive outpouring of fan support. Runaways was so popular, in fact, that after Vaughan and Alphona left the series in 2006, Joss Whedon filled in as the book’s writer for several issues.

The “Runaways” movie has been in development for a few years now with little progress. Pearce was named the screenwriter for the project after gaining attention as the producer and writer for “No Heroics,” a British superhero comedy. Most recently, he joined Shane Black as a a co-writer on “Iron Man 3″ and also landed a gig adapting the DC series The Mighty for Paramount.

With Disney and Marvel recently tagging a pair of upcoming weekends in 2014 for upcoming movie releases, there’s reason to believe one of those dates could become the “Runaways” premiere — though everything is still very much up in the air regarding the project.

Would you like to see “Runaways” get the green light? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

Ten Avengers who won’t be getting their own Marvel movies any time soon

Ten Avengers who won’t be getting their own Marvel movies any time soon (photo)

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“The Avengers” hits theaters next year, bringing some of Marvel Comics’ most popular superheroes together on one screen. Not only will the film feature solo stars Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and Hulk, but it will also include characters like Black Widow and Hawkeye whose presence in Marvel’s cinematic universe have been relegated to cameos thus far.

However, those are far from the only members of the Avengers roster that Hollywood can chose from. As one of Marvel’s oldest superhero teams, it’s almost easier to name the Marvel Comics characters who haven’t held an Avengers ID at one point or another.

And while some of the names on the Avengers roster could certainly factor into the upcoming film and future Marvel movies, there are quite a few characters who it’s safe to assume will never make the leap to page to screen.

From a bikini-clad tigress to a time-traveling gunslinger, here are ten Avengers who probably won’t appear in Marvel’s live-action movies.


TIGRA

Introduced back in the early ’70s, Tigra is the name used by superheroine Greer Grant Nelson, a scientist’s assistant who was granted cat-like superhuman powers in a radical experiment. She was later magically transformed into a “Cat Person” with orange fur, tiger stripes, and a tail. While she’s been given the chance to transform back into a human at points, she prefers to hang out in her feline form, usually wearing nothing but a tiny string bikini.

WHY NOT: While there’s certainly room for another female superhero in “The Avengers,” we can’t really see Sam Jackson’s Nick Fury taking this magical tiger lady very seriously.


STARFOX

A red-haired superhero evolved from an alien offshoot of humanity, Starfox is the Avengers codename for Eros, a character created in 1973 by Jim Starlin and Mike Friedrich. Along with possessing the ability to fly, superhuman strength and stamina, and a unique healing ability, Starfox’s primary claim to fame is the ability to stimulate the pleasure centers of other creatures’ brains. Over the years, he’s used this ability to bed a long list of female superheroes, and eventually found himself on trial for sexual assault, charged with using his powers to seduce a married woman.

WHY NOT: When it comes to “The Avengers,” one lothario (Tony Stark) is probably enough — especially if the alternative is an alien with a sketchy history of sexual offenses.


STINGRAY

Walter Newell is an oceanographer with a special suit that gives him superhuman strength and the ability to swim really, really fast (and glide through the air for short distances). He can also shoot electric blasts from his fingers.

WHY NOT: While the character has his fans, let’s face it: unless there’s a lot of underwater action in “The Avengers,” we probably won’t see Stingray.


DARKHAWK

After teenager Chris Powell found a weird amulet in an abandoned amusement park, he found that he was able to switch bodies with a powerful android and decided to fight crime as the superhero Darkhawk. The character was introduced in the early ’90s and after spending a few years in his own series, he was demoted to occasional cameo status around the Marvel Comics universe — including a brief stint with the West Coast Avengers. His origin is a convoluted mess that’s been rewritten several times over, and while he has a vocal fanbase, he’s never managed to elevate his status beyond C-List hero.

WHY NOT: Even though I’m a fan of Darkhawk, I know it would take at least two hours just to make his backstory begin to make sense to mainstream movie audiences. Sorry, Darkhawk fans…


MACHINE MAN

Created by comics legend Jack Kirby for a comic based on “2001: A Space Odyssey,” Machine Man is a humanoid android superhero who served on the West Coast Avengers for several years before having his membership revoked. The character received a complete revamp at the hands of writer Warren Ellis, and now exists as an obnoxious, beer-fueled employee of S.H.I.E.L.D. He frequently complains about the “fleshy ones” he’s forced to work with, and likes to talk about his “sexy roboty parts.”

WHY NOT: Yeah, there’s probably no need to explain why Machine Man won’t appear in “The Avengers.” Let’s be honest, though: we all secretly want to see him in that movie.


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