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Since Marvel first announced plans that it would be making an Avengers film, fans have assumed that the plot would be a storyline taken straight out of the comics: Loki, Thor's half-brother and the God of Mischief, uses his powers to brainwash The Hulk and creates global chaos, leaving only The Avengers to stop him. By the time the film rolls around in 2012, Loki, who will be played by Tom Hiddleston in Kenneth Branagh's Thor, will already be an established villain in the Marvel universe and taking a page right out of the comics would make all of the fanboys happy. On paper it appears to be a win-win, but perhaps Marvel doesn't see it that way.
Rumors are now emerging that, in place of Loki, the Skrulls will be the villain in Joss Whedon's The Avengers. The story comes from an insider reporting to Comic Book Movie, and says that the plot will remain the same, just with the Skrulls taking control of Hulk. For those that don't know, the Skrulls are an evil alien race of shapeshifters who travel to Earth with the intention of conquering it, but are entirely unaware of the superhero presence. Though they are largely known as enemies of the Fantastic Four, the Avengers have been called on to face Skrull invasions before, just not in the way the film will be using them.
The same source also is saying that the Kree, another alien species, will be making an appearance in the film fighting alongside our costumed heroes. Interestingly, this new story disrupts a rumor that popped up earlier this week involving actor Kevin Pennington. The inside source states that Pennington will not be playing Hawkeye, as originally suggested, but rather Noh-Varr, a member of the Kree race who possesses enhanced strength, speed and endurance. Strangely, Noh-Varr's relationship with S.H.I.E.L.D. has never been a friendly one, having been involved in conflicts with the secret organization through multiple story lines, but the long fought battle between the Kree and the Skrulls may supersede that rocky relationship.
All in all, this is a confusing move. Non-comic fans had a hard enough time trying to balance the subplots in Iron Man 2 and now they are going to make The Avengers unnecessarily complicated? The plot mentioned in the first paragraph is a perfect way of tying the solo movies together, while this idea suggests creating two aliens races that we've never seen before in the films and would upend the heightened-reality set forward thus far. It simply doesn't make sense.