Back in 2008, Marvel finally broke the shackles that had been holding them back from making great movies based off of their films. Recovering the rights to man of their characters (minus the big hitters of Spider-Man, X-Men, Fantastic Four, DareDevil, and Ghost Ride), Marvel started their own production company so they could make their own movies based off their own characters. First up to bat was their adaption of Iron Man, starring Robert Downey Jr., that came out to critical and audience acclaim. For those who stayed until the end credits, they were hit with a stinger with Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, director of SHIELD, who came to Tony Stark to talk to him about The Avengers Initiative. After four years and five movies of ground work (Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America), Marvel's gamble for the ensemble film The Avengers will hit screens next May. So after that, what is in store for fans and audiences alike, and what does Marvel have in store for us? My thoughts and more after the break.
The scene that started The Avengers movement:
So with The Avengers a year away, and the film being a surefire hit, where will Marvel go from here? There is a lot of rumors floating around the internet right now, most of which comes stems from things that Marvel President Kevin Feige has been saying in interviews. So here's a look at some confirmed projects, a few rumored, and my ideas for where to go.
Iron Man 3
Iron Man 3 is already slated for a 2013 release, a year after The Avengers. Robert Downey Jr. will return as Tony Stark and the film will be written and directed by Shane Black, writer of Lethal Weapon and the director of Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. Very little is known about the film so far, but the film will take place after The Avengers and not feature any of the other major heroes from the Marvel Universe. Shane Black has shown time and time again what a great writer he is, and Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang is one of the most underrated films of the 2000's, so it's great to see him working again with Downey Jr. on a big tent-pole action film. Black has stated he aims to make the movie a "technological thriller in the vein of Tom Clancy" which may be a very good way to go with the series.
Edgar Wright's Ant-Man
One film that has been in the pipeline over the past few years has been Edgar Wright's (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim vs the World) adaption of Ant-Man. Again, very little is known about it, but Edgar has turned in two drafts of the script and Marvel is very enthusiastic about it. Now that he is done with Scott Pilgrim, Edgar is focusing his efforts on the project and it will be his next film. Very little is known, but he says it will not be a comedy and will take the character seriously. Rumor is we may here hints towards Hank Pym in the upcoming Avengers film, but he will not be seen on screen until Edgar Wright's film. We don't have any of the cast yet, but I do have an idea of who I'd like to see as Hank Pym:
Krasinksi was originally courted by Marvel to play Captain America, so Marvel obviously has shown interest in working with him. This would be a great chance for him to do something different and break his image as Jim Halpert in The Office and really become a bigger star. I'd really like to see him get the chance to take the role.
Captain America hasn't even been released yet but the sequel is already in the scripting stages. The rumor is that the script will take place in two different time periods where we see more of Captain America in WWII and how something that happens then plays a part in the story arc of whats happening in present day America, while also dealing with him coping with being in a new time period. Very much looking forward to it.
From here, we'll talk about some of the projects rumored from Marvel themselves, but have no confirmation as being made.
With Thor's worldwide success last month, Chris Hemsworth and Kevin Feige have both been very open about discussing the possibilities of the sequel. Hemsworth himself put on Twitter: "Believe it or not folks, Thor 2 is happening!" The rumor is that the film is already in early development at Marvel with a 2013 release date in mind. There is also already rumblings of who the villain(s) might be in the film, that Natalie Portman will be returning, and that Kenneth Branagh is being courted to return as director. I'm hoping now with the origin behind them, they can jump even more deeply into Thor's core mythology and explore more of Asgard. And make sure the next movie is longer! The first could have benefited from an extra ten or fifteen minutes of story to flesh out the secondary characters.
The Avengers 2 and 3
The Avengers is rumored to be the setup for a bigger story to take place over three movies. This has been confirmed by Evan's as well who has said he's signed for three Captain America films and three Avengers films. I guarantee Whedon and Marvel have an story arc in mind already and are setting it in the first film. Guess we'll see how it plays out.
Hawkeye: Agent of SHIELD
For everyone who saw Thor, many fans were excited to see the first glimpse of Jeremy Renner as the character Hawkeye. He will be built upon in The Avengers, so for the next year that little cameo will have to do. Feige has said that there are early thoughts being kicked around for Hawkeye to get his own film post Avengers, but very little is known about it right now. Would it be an origin? Or would it take place after the events of The Avengers? Only time will tell...
A SHIELD movie has been something that has talked about since the end of the first Iron Man. The rumored film would star Sam Jackson, and most likely Scarlet Jo again as Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, and Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson. I think it would be interesting seeing a movie based around those characters and seeing a spy film set in this Superhero universe. Seeing them fighting Hydra agents in the modern time frame really would be awesome. I would love something like that. The one thing I ask is that Sam Jackson tones down being Sam Jackson and really tries to up the acting as Nick Fury. That would really help him sell the character to me.
Another character Marvel has been talking about for a while has been Luke Cage. Another movie that would break the typical superhero mold and would be more along the lines of a detective/action film, Luke Cage would revolve around a wrongly accused man who is sent to prison only to get out and begin fighting the injustice in New York city. There are many actors who have been talking with Marvel about doing a film, from Tyrese to Michael Jai White, and most recently Isaiah Mustafa. Who as it turns out, as of just a day ago posted a teaser trailer with him as the character online. Could he be farther into talks with Marvel than we were originally led to believe? Here's the teaser, and I have to say, I'm impressed and would love to see it happen.
And last but not least is the rumored Doctor Strange film. This has been a movie Feige has been talking about since Iron Man came out and has really been wanting to get made. This would take Marvel into the supernatural relm as Doctor Strange goes into other dimensions and plains of reality, deals with demons and ghosts and much more. Most recently, Patrick Dempsey has been rumored to be in early talks with Marvel to get the role of the Sorcerer Supreme. An interesting choice for sure, and a good way to get some people people into the theater that wouldn't normally watch comic-book movies. If they get the right writer and director, this movie could be mind blowingly cool. I'd love to see Guillermo del Toro take a shot at the character. He would make the film a visual masterpiece and really bring a new look to the Marvel Universe. Since he's working with Marvel right now on a new Hulk live action TV series, I'd really like to think that he might be willing to jump into doing a movie for the studio, and this would be perfect for him.
So there you have it. A look at what's in store for us over the next few years with Marvel. It'll be interesting seeing them diving into some new characters and branching out into new territory. I'm very much looking forward to seeing where they go with their films.