If there’s anything I know about Hollywood, it’s that movies that open north of $200 million get sequels. No questions asked. So very few were surprised when Walt Disney Company CEO and President Bob Iger confirmed that The Avengers 2 was happening.
When? Well, that’s still up in the air. Marvel Studios and Disney already have Iron Man 3, Thor 2 and Captain America 2 in the pipeline. A second Avengers likely will follow that, perhaps in 2015.
There are two questions I’d like answered between now and then: Will Joss Whedon be back in the director’s chair; and which team members will be introduced into the Avengers fold in time for the sequel? Marvel wisely used standalone Iron Man and Thor films to pull Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) into the on-screen universe. Who’ll pop up in the subsequent sequels to potentially lay the groundwork for roles in Avengers 2? Here are the 5 I’d love to see:
Ant-Man and Wasp
Two original members (they’re on the 1963 cover of The Avengers Vol. 1 #1) who somehow didn’t make the cut for this modern update. This one actually seems probable, though, as Edgar Wright recently Tweeted an Ant-Man tease (and his rumored interest in an Ant-Man film has been circulating for ages). Plus, the inclusion of Janet van Dyne and her alter ago, Wasp, would bring an increased jolt of girl power, which Whedon’s film could have used.
Another classic Avenger, and one traditional comic-book geeks likely would love to see on screen in a sequel. Vision is an android (created by the villain Ultron) who creates problems for Wasp until the team is able to reverse his programming and lure him to the good side. Rumors already are flying that Clark Gregg’s S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Coulson, could find new life as an updated Vision – keeping a fan-favorite actor on the scene while also introducing a legendary hero. Two birds with one stone, Marvel. A win-win.
The general consensus formed after The Avengers is that the Hulk – and Whedon’s use of the classic character – stole the show. What better way to top that then by introducing a second Hulk-like character, this time in the form of Jennifer Walters. A late recruit to the Avengers, the gamma-enhanced attorney and distant cousin to Brice Banner has been part of several teams in the Marvel universe, from the Fantastic Four to S.H.I.E.L.D. Including her here opens the doors to several franchise crossovers, extending the life of the brand while brining an incredibly cool character to this ongoing series. She-Hulk smash? Perhaps.
Another offbeat Avenger, and one whose name often is attached to potential standalone origin films. But if part of an Avengers sequel has to take place below the ocean, why not pull the Sub-Mariner into the mix. Namor first hit the scene in 1939, and has been a crucial part of the Marvel universe ever since. Like She-Hulk, he has been part of the Avengers, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men. And if he connects with audiences in an Avengers film, then Marvel knows it would be time to branch off and make individual Namor films, as other filmmakers have tried to do in the past. Soon, it may be Sub-Mariner’s time to shine … or, at the very least, swim.
James “Rhodey” Rhodes already exists in the Iron Man universe, having donned the suit to fight alongside Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) in Jon Favreau’s Iron Man 2. It would be very easy to imagine Stark calling on Rhodes to join the fight in Avengers 2, perhaps to beat down Thanos if it seems like our heroes are losing the battle. Were that to happen, then the sequel HAS to end with Hawkeye (Renner) and War Machine departing for California, where they’ll launch the West Coast Avengers. Boom. A new film franchise is born. You’re welcome, Marvel.