The Avengers 2: What We Know So Far
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of the most ambitious film franchises put together by a studio, but perhaps the best thing about it is how every move made within it is endlessly fascinating to fans. If Falcon, the character set to be played by Anthony Mackie in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, got his powers from the Cosmic Cube, how will that affect Thor’s world, as the object was last seen at the end of The Avengers being taken away to Asgard by the God of Thunder and Loki? Because of the intricate details of the comic book world anything is possible, and it’s great fun to speculate about the implications of every twist, turn and maneuver as they lead to the second big landmark film: The Avengers 2.
The journey to the next the next superhero team-up film has already begun with the release of Shane Black’s Iron Man 3, but there’s still plenty more in store for 2013. Not only is Alan Taylor’s Thor: The Dark World due out in November, production has already begun on Joe and Anthony Russo’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier and will soon start on James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy. This year will have a huge impact on the future of the MCU, but what do we know so far? How is each character involved in the development of Marvel’s larger plans? Read on below as I break it all down!
WARNING: This post has been updated with spoiler information from Iron Man 3. If you haven’t seen the film yet, please tread carefully.
Joss Whedon is the only non-fictional person/being who gets his own section on this list, but that should just stress how important he is to the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and, therefore The Avengers 2. In August 2012 it was revealed that the writer/director had signed a three-year deal with Marvel Studios that not only locked him in to both write and direct a sequel to his first massively successful blockbuster, but to serve as a guide for Phase Two, which includes Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy. In December 2012 he revealed that he has already completed an outline for Avengers 2, and at the premiere of Iron Man 3 he said that he has finished the first draft. Joss Whedon is the champion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and we can’t wait to see what he has in store.
The most lasting effect that Iron Man 3 has on both The Avengers 2 and the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole is that we’re not quite sure what the future holds for Tony Stark and his armor. At the end of Shane Black’s film, the character has the shrapnel and arc reactor removed from his chest, blows up all of his suits, and seemingly leaves behind the ruins of his Malibu home. The final title card of the movie reads “Tony Stark Will Return,” but does that mean that the man will and the machine won’t? Contract negotiations are on-going with star Robert Downey Jr., who reached the end of his contract with the new sequel, so there is a surprising amount of uncertainty surrounding what will happen to Iron Man.
Thor: The Dark World will be in theaters on November 8th of this year but at this time it’s unclear where the movie will wind up on the road to The Avengers 2. The most recent development regarding the God of Thunder (other than this awesome teaser trailer) is actually an update about his villainous brother, Loki. In December 2012 Tom Hiddleston told the press that he is unsure if the God of Mischief will be back to hassle the superhero team again come 2015. Given how much of Thor’s storyline is set in other worlds it is possible that the purple-pussed villain Thanos – first seen during the end credits of Avengers – could make an appearance in the next adventure, but we won’t know until much later this year.
Though production on Captain America: The Winter Solider has begun, we still don’t really know much about its story – which in turn means that we don’t know how it will lead to The Avengers 2. Joe and Anthony Russo are directing the sequel and it’s been confirmed that Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson will be back as Black Widow and Nick Fury, respectively; Anthony Mackie will play the Falcon; Frank Grillo will play Crossbones; Sebastian Stan will be resurrected as the titular Winter Soldier, and Toby Jones will return as Arnim Zola. Most exciting of all, however, is that Robert Redford has also signed on to play an important figure at S.H.I.E.L.D. Any of those characters could find their way into Joss Whedon's second go-round in the Marvel Universe, but nothing has been confirmed at this point.
Actor Mark Ruffalo has said, via his Twitter account that the Hulk will not be appearing in a Marvel Studios film between now and The Avengers 2, but he didn’t say anything about Bruce Banner. While we’re still waiting to see the return of the giant green monster on the big screen, it’s at least good to know that Banner and Tony Stark remain good friends, as seen in the post-credit sequence of Iron Man 3 where the gamma radiation scientist is acting as a therapist for genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist.
Like Hulk, Hawkeye isn't slated for a standalone movie just yet, though Jeremy Renner has expressed interest, and is also locked down to play the character for many Avengers movies to come. But aside from Renner sounding a little unhappy about Hawkeye's zombi-fication in The Avengers, we haven't heard a peep about the talented archer. Maybe we can hope that Whedon has taken Renner's complaints to heart and is planning a bigger role for him next time around.
Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow was first introduced thanks to her involvement with Tony Stark in Iron Man 2, but in the run-up to The Avengers 2 she’ll be seen palling around with a more outwardly-patriotic hero. When Captain America: The Winter Soldier began filming it was announced that the character would have a very important role in the movie, teaming up with Cap to take down a shadowy figure in present day Washington D.C. We shall wait and see how the events of the movie affect the story Joss Whedon has written for the next team-up film.
After years and years of interminable waiting, 2012 finally brought some amazing news for Edgar Wright’s upcoming solo superhero movie Ant-Man: it finally has a release date. Marvel Studios has confirmed that the film will be released on November 6, 2015, which will make it the first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Three. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has also said that Wright and co-writer Joe Cornish have started doing touch-up work on the script to ensure that the movie will fit into the Cinematic Universe. We’re still not sure if the character will be featured in Avengers 2 and then go on his own adventure, but for now we at least have the memory and descriptions of the test footage shown at Comic Con 2012.
The most interesting thing about The Wasp’s potential involvement in The Avengers 2 is the fact that the character very nearly showed up in The Avengers. In December of 2012 Joss Whedon revealed at a special DGA screening of the movie that there was a time when it looked as though Scarlett Johansson wouldn’t be returning as Black Widow and he wrote a draft featuring The Wasp a.k.a. Janet Van Dyne as his female lead. Whedon grew very fond of the character while writing the draft, so it’s possible that he could try to get her in for Avengers 2. But with Ant-Man out later that summer in 2015 it’s possible that Whedon won’t want to step on Edgar Wright’s toes.
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