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Sunday, June 5, 2005


J. Michael Straczynski, guest of honor at Wizard World Philadelphia, said he is working with Marvel Studios on a television project featuring Marvel characters.

"We're putting the budget together and it could prep in August or September, although there could be a few bumps between here and there," Straczynski said, not revealing the characters. "I try not to get too excited, but it could be a lot of fun."

The creator of Babylon 5 talked on a wide range of subjects, including his film, TV and comics work.

In other highlights from the panel:

* Straczynski gave an update on the Rising Stars movie. "MGM couldn't figure out what to do with it and the option expired last month," he said. "Three other major studios are currently interested in it."

* In terms of Babylon 5, Straczynski said he told the story he wanted to tell. Plans for a feature film weren't realized, and he has no B5 books planned.

* With Amazing Spider-Man, the book has changed with the move of Peter, Mary Jane and Aunt May to Avengers tower after Aunt May's house burned down.

"It's so much fun right now with the dynamics," Straczynski said. "He'll be there for a while and come back to his own life eventually."

Peter's life is tabloid fodder when Mary Jane is caught by the press going to Stark Tower at 2 a.m. and, trying to keep Peter's secret identity, tells them that she was meeting Stark.

Straczynski said he will deal with the ramifications of Peter living in the tower, and he's tempted to keep Aunt May, who has a budding romance with Jarvis, there after Peter leaves. "Peter's going to wig out because he doesn't know how to deal with it," JMS said the Jarvis/May relationship.

* As the new writer of Fantastic Four, Straczynski said he is trying to balance "the cosmic stuff on one end and the family stuff on another end" in the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby tradition.

* An upcoming story element will involve the child welfare department visiting the FF's headquarters over concerns that the Richards' children are being raised in a safe enviroment.

"The hard part is they're right," Straczynski said. "It is an unsafe enviroment."

He said he doesn't want to change the FF's origin, but wants to add one element to it.

* Straczynski said that Supreme Power's move from the MAX imprint to Marvel Knights was in order to make the book accessible to more readers. Despite the new limits on language and nudity, he said the title won't really change and will continue with the "same attitude."

Early next year, Hyperion will decided he has to run things, according to the writer. A Hyperion mini-series is also planned, but an artist hasn't been finalized.

* Straczynski called Dream Police, his Icon one-shot hitting stores on June 22, a "noir comedy."

* Straczynski said he still loves the original Star Trek and would like to see the franchise regain its luster. "They're driving that franchise into the ground because they don't understand what it is," he said.

Straczynski said he and Bryce Zabel (creater of The Crow: Stairway to Heaven and Dark Skies television series) prepared a Star Trek pitch, but Paramount is giving the franchise a couple years rest after the cancellation of Enterprise. "When the door is open again, I'll be there," he said.

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