At WonderCon over the weekend, everybody was talking about a handful of spring/summer scifi flicks that all had one thing in common: the kind of moral ambiguity that would never fly in Superman. We saw an action-packed clip from Wanted, whose superheroes are assassins with a mission to control the world's destiny that sounds creepily like the tenets of Scientology. No fighters for truth and justice these — they're just using their powers to become godlike. Get ready for a giant moral gray area in other flicks coming your way, like Iron Man, the new X-Files flick, and Starship Troopers III. Get a quick look at all three below.
We didn't see much more of Iron Man than you did if you watched the Superbowl commercial a few weeks ago, but director Jon Favreau did let it slip that he had to do some very creative editing to make this flick kid-friendly. No wonder, given that Iron Man as a character is about as dark as you can get: in recent series Civil War, he led the government crackdown on the superhero community, rounding up his cohorts and forcing them to be placed under surveillance under the Superhero Registration Act.
Starship Troopers III writer and director Ed Neumeier, who worked on the first film, said the new film will be a lot more darkly satirical. The soldiers are sick of the war, and just want to go home. It's based much more faithfully on the original Heinlein novel, and from what we could see from the hefty clips they showed us the action scenes will be fun and exciting to watch. A new generation of bugs have cool robo-suits that make them look like a cross between bug and Tripod from War of the Worlds.
And of course the biggest draw of the weekend was the new X-Files movie, which is being shot even as I write. The packed crowd of thousands was going crazy for every little word dropped by director Chris Carter, and the teeny taste of the movie we got to see was exciting. X-Files protagonists Scully and Mulder have always been morally ambiguous — even, at times, obviously insane. And the new flick has 9/11 looming over it like a dark cloud. The fans couldn't stop talking about conspiracy theories about how the original series was destroyed by the 9/11 disaster, and even Carter admitted the movie had to wait until the mood in the country was lighter again. Just to prove how light their moods were, stars Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny spent a while joking about how XF3 should be about Mulder's experiments with autoerotic asphyxiation. (And we got it on tape — you can see it if you click through.)