The Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of the most ambitious film franchises put together by a studio, and perhaps the best thing about it is how every move made within it continues to build and add toward something bigger and better. With each new story we learn more and more about the world behind the silver screen, and we are always left with a mix of satisfaction and want for more. 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 Marvel Studios’ second big landmark film: The Avengers: Age of Ultron.
The mega blockbuster is now nearly here as Phase Two films like Shane Black’s Iron Man 3, Alan Taylor’s Thor: The Dark World, Joe and Anthony Russo’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy have all found their respective ways into theaters over the last few years. Obviously they all have a huge impact on the big future of the MCU, but what do we know so far and how will it lead into Avengers 2? What is the latest development with all of the characters involved? Read on below as I break it all down.
Joss WhedonJoss 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: Age of Ultron. 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 what has been dubbed Phase Two. Sadly, it appears that this will be his last Avengers movie, as it has been announced that The Avengers: Infinity War films will be helmed by Joe and Anthony Russo – the filmmakers behind Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Iron ManTony Stark went through some interesting changes at the end of Iron Man 3, which puts him in an interesting place leading up to Avengers 2. The billionaire playboy philanthropist was shown not only destroying all of his Iron Man suits, but also finally getting the arc reactor out of his chest – suggesting that he was done with the superhero lifestyle. Following the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D., though, he and Stark Industries entered into the world of private global security, and while this may seem like a good idea, it’s also what leads to the creation of a new supervillain: Ultron (more on him below!) We also now know that Tony will be part of Captain America 3, which should launch the Civil War. But we need to see where he is at the end of Age of Ultron.
ThorJust like what Iron Man 3 did for Iron Man, Thor: The Dark World left its titular hero in an interesting position right before the credits rolled. The end of the film featured the God of Thunder rejecting the throne of Asgard in favor of returning to Earth so that he can be with his love, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). This means that when it comes time for The Avengers to reassemble, Thor won’t even have to travel by wormhole to answer the call – he can just swing his hammer around and fly back to the Avengers Tower in Manhattan . The audience knows that Thor actually left Asgard to be ruled under the iron fist of Loki (Tom Hiddleston), but he probably won’t figure that out until Thor 3.
Captain AmericaOf all the films we’ve seen in Phase Two, Captain America: The Winter Soldier has had by far the biggest impact on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not only did the eponymous hero have to deal with a horror from his past in the form of The Winter Soldier, S.H.I.E.L.D. turned out to be a massively corrupt institution that had been taken over by HYDRA, and was subsequently destroyed by our heroes. The movie left Cap not only in a future he’s unfamiliar with, but really unable to trust anyone around him. Perhaps his only salvation is his fellow superheroes in the Avengers squad. Things are going to get tougher for The First Avenger as the MCU rolls on. We now know that he'll oppose Tony Stark in Captain America 3. Will the split begin to form in Age of Ultron? Look for the growing conflict.