Taking Names: Whedon to write, direct sequel for ‘The Avengers’

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Joss Whedon has been hired to continue the adventures of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and their superhero pals in a sequel to “The Avengers.”

The news came Tuesday from Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Officer Robert Iger, who said during a company earnings call that the filmmaker is returning to write and direct the sequel adapted from the Marvel Comics tales.

Mr. Iger also said Mr. Whedon is helping to develop a Marvel-based TV series for ABC. Marvel is a Disney subsidiary.

No details were provided on a start of production or release date for the sequel to Mr. Whedon’s “The Avengers,” the year’s biggest hit with nearly $1.5 billion in worldwide box office sales. But the film will have to get in line behind a busy schedule of solo sequels featuring “Avengers” co-stars.

Robert Downey Jr. is filming “Iron Man 3” for release in May, while “Thor” star Chris Hemsworth will have his own sequel out in November 2013. Chris Evans’ “Captain America” sequel will follow in April 2014.

Monkees Peter Tork, Mike Nesmith (from left) and Micky Dolenz (far right) are reuniting for a tour. Davy Jones (second from right) died in February. (Associated Press)

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Monkees Peter Tork, Mike Nesmith (from left) and Micky Dolenz (far right) ... more >

The Monkees announce first tour since Jones‘ death

The Monkees will perform their first live shows since star Davy Jones died in February.

Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork announced Wednesday that the group will launch a 12-date U.S. tour in November. It’s the band’s first tour since 1997.

Jones died of a heart attack on Feb. 29 at age 66.

The group starred in its own NBC television show in 1966 as a made-for-TV band seeking to capitalize on Beatlemania sweeping the world. Jones rocketed to the top of the music charts with the Monkees, captivating audiences with hits including “Daydream Believer” and “I’m a Believer.”

The tour kicks off Nov. 8 in Escondido, Calif. It wraps on Dec. 2 in New York. It will highlight Jones “in the show’s multimedia content.”

‘Expendables’ cast giving grieving Stallone some space

The cast of “The Expendables 2” say they’re giving co-star and writer Sylvester Stallone space after the death of his son last month.

Mr. Stallone’s 36-year-old son, Sage, died on July 13 in his Los Angeles home — a day after Mr. Stallone was joined by Arnold Schwarzenegger and other “Expendables” stars at Comic-Con in San Diego.

“Something like that is so severe. You can’t really do anything. I sent him a handwritten note. I contributed to a charity for his kid,” said Dolph Lundgren, one of a number of aging action stars featured in the film, which opens Aug. 17.

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