With Captain America: The Winter Soldier ready to crash its way onto screens tonight (and a healthy box office showing already taking place overseas), the PR machine at Marvel Studios is working overtime. After all, even movies that are practically guaranteed success still need to make a good effort to charm the press. And if there is anyone out there who has a lot to talk about when it comes to the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it would certainly be the man controlling everything behind the scenes: Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige.
And talk he did with the folks over at JoBlo - specifically about the effect that the latest blockbuster has on the entire universe from this point on. Buried within the story, though, is some important new info about everyone's favorite giant greenmonster. Asked about the lack of a sequel to 2008's The Incredible Hulk - even after Mark Ruffalo has endeared himself to the public with his performance in the role - Feige told the reporter,
I would love to do that with Mark Ruffalo. But part of the fun of Age of Ultron was saying, 'You’ve seen another Iron Man adventure before, you see another Thor adventure and another
Not only has Mr. Feige been conscious of the decision to not make a Hulk sequel yet, he also wants to make sure the fans don’t forget that Hulk is still around. This might sound like as cruel as Joss Whedon bumping off another beloved character, but it's actually a really smart move. After all, audiences have had two Hulk films, and they’ve both been met with lukewarm enthusiasm. With the 2008 version of Bruce Banner’s story being the lowest grossing film of Phase I, the studio needs for the audience to really clamor for a sequel before one actually appears. With character moments like this one from The Avengers making enough of a mark for us to even take the possibility of a sequel seriously, it looks like this plan of starving the audience until they demand more is working.
This same logic can apply to the audience’s demand for a Hawkeye or Black Widow spinoff, as the characters aren’t standalone blockbuster draws just yet. With beefy supporting roles inAge of Ultron and Winter Soldier respectively, these characters might become part of Marvel’s extended franchise plans that, at this moment, is reportedly planned through 2028. With their strategy to strengthen previous errors in the franchise (while not altogether forgetting they happened), Marvel Studios looks to not only expand their reach, but to make sure it doesn’t lose strength along the way.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron is scheduled for release on Marvel-ous May 1st, 2015. Let’s hope Jeremy Renner’s happier with his part this time out, seeing as he’s been rather forthcoming about the difference between what he signed on for and what actually happened in the previous film. After all, we all know what Marvel does to actors who get on their nerves.