The Road to “Avengers 2″: Predictions and Hopes
In our post-The Avengers world, priorities have changed a little bit. Before the record breaking hit, people were all, “I wonder if Thor 2 will be any good,” but now, people are all, “OMG I need Avengers 2 right now!” Naturally, the question that follows is, well, “What will Avengers 2 even be about?” Seriously, even a large portion of the comic book reading masses have no idea.
That’s why Chaos Mechanica decided to share his answers and start us on the Road to Avengers 2:
I want to keep in mind a few things that have been said by or rumored about Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige and his crew. The Marvel Filmverse, as we know, is an interconnected web, bridged beforehand by particular characters like Coulsen and Nick Fury, and officially in the recent and wildly successful Avengers. Feige has detailed the movies as “Storyarcs,” with each round of movies culminating in an Avengers movie ending out that arc.
As Louis’ recent review pointed out, this is not unlike a series of comic storylines that come together during a big comic crossover event, bringing all of the various plot points to a head in one giant event full of action and (hopefully) good scripting. As such, part of my ideas will stem from the plot of the previous interconnected Marvel films and the whole crossover convention.
Iron Man 3
As Marvel’s flagship title, there’s no doubt that this movie will have some kind of major hint or major cameo for the future films. With rumors that Iron Man 3 is based on the “Extremis” storyline, things could… evolve, to much higher levels than ever before.
Although the first Iron Man film started off lightly based in the real world (as far as Tony’s powers being entirely technologically based), it would have been odd to escalate his stories to anything beyond “normal” before Avengers. But after Thor introduced a solution to magic’s “realism” (with the idea that it’s really super-science, and with things like the BiFrost Bridge having a futuristic-tech approach) and with Avengers introducing ALIENS as enemies, we’ve pretty much brought audiences fully into the comic book world.
“Extremis” gets very comic booky, very fast (SPOILERS AHEAD). If you haven’t read “Extremis,” Tony Stark gets an updated origin and his powers ramped up with a super virus that radically changes how he interacts with his suit, making him a technological super-man. With that in mind, this is a perfect time to bring Iron Man full circle and introduce the Mandarin. The longtime Iron Man arch-foe is the same person who releases a virus that leaves about 2-3% of it’s victims with a new version of the super-soldier serum.
Yes yes yes: it’s been said by Marvel producers that “Iron Man 3 won’t have the Mandarin in it.” But perhaps the Mandarin won’t make an appearance as the character we know him as. The so-called “Ten Rings” has yet to come back, and a major virus related to weapons technology being unleashed on the world sounds like something up their alley.
Also don’t forget what I said about the virus: it’s an updated super-soldier serum. With audiences introduced to movie-Cap, it’s easy for Marvel to tie these plot points together and run with it. My prediction is that perhaps something will have been found leftover from Loki (or the crew of scientists he had under his spell) which will have alien tech or DNA that—when combined with the serum—will be weaponized into the Extremis virus.
To sum it up, Iron Man 3 will introduce a Tony Stark who, after having his body shut down and re-wired by a tech virus evolved from the super-soldier serum, will be able to directly interact with technology and call his armor to him, making it even more appealing to special-effect fans who need this sequel to one-up the last two movies. It will introduce a figurehead closely identical to the Mandarin or a reimagined version of him as an organization of 10 figureheads with their own powers. It will perhaps make use of Rhodey as War Machine (but I doubt anyone else) and—possibly—introduce a few minor Iron Man villains (like the Blizzard, Melter, Firebrand, and the like) as hired henchmen, and introduce higher concepts of science and space that will make it easier for audiences to digest Avengers 2′s use of cosmic conflict.
The post-credits scene will show how Tony’s latest adventure unravels something cosmic like a monolith or beacon that in some way introduces the Kree—an alien race that helps bring Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel into the picture—or the Inhumans, a comic property Feige is highly interested in bringing to the Marvel Filmverse.
One last thought: since the Marvel Filmverse can’t use anything X-Men-related (due to licensing issues), could the Extremis virus somehow be used to “introduce” mutants into the Avengers’ shared universe, making it easy to introduce heroes and longtime Avengers characters like Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Namor, and more? Probably not, but just a thought.
Undoubtedly Thor 2 will try to hold onto what really worked for fans of the first movie—Thor kicking ass in the mystical realms—and what tethers Thor to the Marvel universe—adventures on Earth.
There’s two ideas I have about the plot.With the trophy room invaded in the first film, I’d assume there could be a story revolving around other stolen items, maybe fallen to Earth or stolen by Loki and left behind on Earth. Old Thor foes like the Wrecking Crew or the Absorbing Man (not Ang Lee’s Nick Nolte version!) could make an appearance this way. Or the stolen trophies/Cosmic Cube awakens a mythic foe/force/disaster that threatens Earth and Asgard.
Following this idea is Jane Foster’s character having some kind of importance (to keep her relevant), like perhaps her being possessed by the Enchantress or her research being key to stopping the enemies/disaster.
What this movie will offer is yet another way to transcend the typical movie-goer’s perception of what’s “too fantastical” for the current Marvel Filmverse, while a few Easter eggs—like possibly a post-credits scene where a SHIELD agent (like Wendell Vaughn to replace Coulsen) secures the Quantum Bands (that made Vaughn into Quasar)—could help introduce new characters and concepts for later movies.
Captain America 2
The last main Avenger to get his own movie, this movie will likely follow Cap trying to find himself. Even by the end of The Avengers, Cap really didn’t have that much time to experience the world. He shut himself off in that gym and then spent more time in the Hellicarrier than anywhere else. Having found a purpose again after personally laying his life on the line for the people he saved in Manhattan, he’ll still find the modern world overwhelming and disconcerting, but he’ll try harder to embrace it.
Inevitably he’ll run into Peggy Carter’s descendent, Sharon, a longtime supporting character of his comic title. We can easily assume that by this time Marvel will want to have upped the stakes of their shared universe, and will have introduced an item or threat that bleeds over somehow into Cap 2, making it either the penultimate or ultimate story leading into an Avengers 2 crossover. My bet would be Cap further investigating the remains of Hydra (especially after finding SHIELD’s cargo full of very functional weaponry) and that leading him to a returned Red Skull, a returned Arnim Zola (now complete with robotic bod), a newly introduced Baron Zemo (and the Masters of Evil? and eventually Wonder Man?!?) or even the Winter Soldier (yes, Bucky fell off of a cliff to certain death—but any comic fan knows that if you don’t see a body, they ain’t dead… and even then, who knows?).
With Captain America being more of a “human” hero (in not owning an almighty hammer or awesome armor suit) it would be great to introduce an overwhelming threat that goes way over his head. This not only coincides with the theme of Cap being thrown into a new world he can’t get used to, but being forced to overcome outrageous odds and prove to himself he is a capable soldier no matter what challenge is what will prove to the audience he should have a bigger role as leader of the Avengers in the next Avengers film.
Captain America was partly a team film, with Cap’s reliance on his team of soldiers providing a much-needed supporting cast and people to compare Cap to. To show how different he is as the super soldier. Depending on the scope of this film, this would be a good time to introduce or reintroduce others he has to work with as a team, such as constant friend and rival Hawkeye, longtime partner Red Falcon (don’t say sidekick, he gets sensitive about the S-word) or even the Black Panther. Being able to lead not only other soldiers, but other heroes from different walks of life (and different countries) would be a great way to showcase Cap as the character we know and love while giving us the heroes we want to see.
A Sidebar with Louis Santiago: “I think a Winter Solider plot would work wonders for tying Cap into modern times. The way I see it, the Winter Soldier starts assassinating people, Cap gets assigned to the mission, plot twist revealed, drama happens, and then we find that the person controlling the Winter Soldier is Baron Zemo and his modern, super secret dying cell of Hydra. If it’s Zemo and then Enchantress (who I completely agree with for Thor 2, those are two of the essential ingredients for a Masters of Evil arc.”
Likely New Members With Their Own Movies:
It’s no secret I’m not a huge fan of Hank Pym. It’s not only the fact that his character has been taken to a lot of dark places (like being a wife-beater and creating one of the Avengers’ worst foes), but I’m not a huge fan of his power-set. As Ant-Man he can shrink and talk flying ants into letting him get a free ride. As Giant Man or Goliath, he can grow big. As Yellow Jacket he can zap things, go small, and fly, making him a ripoff of his wife, the Wasp. Not exciting, to me.
But, there has been a movie in the works, being put together by Edgar Wright, with humorous elements, an origin story, and possibly his powers—and the plot—centering around nanotechnology.
With this in mind, it’s clear that Wright and Feige want to keep an emphasis on Pym’s best asset: his intelligence. This will probably be a science experiment-gone-wrong script, centering around Pym trying to fix it, which makes me think we could possibly see The Wasp, Ultron or the Vision introduced, even if they aren’t exactly the way we know them in the comics… yet. Early interviews also indicated the use of Scott Lang, the second Ant-Man, who for some reason I like a whole lot more.
With a plot revolving around super-science and intellect, it’s possible that Marvel could be lining Hank Pym for an Iron Man-style revamp. That is to say, making him super cool in the movies the way Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Favreau did with Iron Man, and then making him more likeable for the public audience. Iron Man was at best a B-level hero until the movie catapulted him to the center of the public eye. All we have to do is see if Marvel, Feige, and Wright will finally finish a script (that’s been in development for about half a decade now) and fund a movie starring one of their lesser heroes.
Likely New Heroes to Get Their Own Movie:
The Inhumans are one of Feige’s projects being pushed for development, although it seems an odd choice for the shared Marvel Filmverse. Almost always a Fantastic Four supporting cast, it will be interesting to see what a movie based entirely on the Inhumans would be like. This may be a way for Marvel to introduce other races, like the Kree, Eternals and Deviants, or even set the stage for a version of the Kree-Skrull War (a great way to show Thanos manipulating the galaxy-at-large).
After rave-reviews on Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner and the Hulk’s ability to kick ass for half of a movie, I wouldn’t be surprised if current plans not to do a Hulk movie changed. With a Hulk who’s more in control and at home with himself, and a general public who seems him (at least somewhat) as a hero, this would be the perfect time to properly reintroduce The Leader, and give Banner and Hulk tons of gamma-irradiated enemies for him to fight. This could even include Banner’s cousin, She-Hulk, a previous member and longtime Avengers affiliate, Betty Ross changed into the Harpy, OR, a post-credits scene showing Betty and/or her father Thunderbolt Ross becoming the Red She-Hulk and Hulk respectively… But with the Hulk being reintroduced to TV soon, they may want to avoid a movie for the time being.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Feige has also mentioned wanting to do a Guardians of the Galaxy film, which would be the easiest way to introduce any space-faring hero or villain, and any concept of super-science and space. Star-Lord, Nova, Warlock and maybe even Rocket Raccoon could make an appearance, with some impending doom diverted by the end of the flick, but still looming. This could directly lead to Avengers 2, with one or a few members of the team showing up to help combat the mighty Titan Eternal.
Louis wants an “Agents of SHIELD” movie, and while that would be a blast, I doubt Marvel would bankroll a movie starring the heroic equivalent of the “anonymous henchmen” archetype, even if we had Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlet Johannsen, and Jeremy Renner reprising their roles, UNLESS Marvel takes the “Ultimate” route, and introduces key popular heroes as SHIELD agents. This could also be a great way to introduce the aforementioned Red Falcon, Wendell Vaughn/Quasar, Quicksilver, and Scarlet Witch as a rough team thrown together in the absence of the bigger superheroes.
The Black Panther and Luke Cage have also been in the rumored ranks of comic movie throughout the last decade, with past rumors including the likes of John Singleton as director and a host of the top Black Hollywood actors as the heroes. With Luke Cage-love and fellow hero Jessica Jones getting her own TV show developed, it’s unlikely Cage will ever get a movie (unless Marvel connects their Filmverse to a newly establish TV-verse) but getting a proper Black Panther film would be awesome.
In Avengers 2
For those who worried that Thanos was revealed too soon, or it being hard to neatly insert him into the Filmverse continuity, I wouldn’t worry too much. As I’ve said above, Marvel has a lot of time to use the plots, cameos and easter eggs of the other movies to make it easier to gradually introduce him to the general movie-goer. And if we can believe in Norse Gods and alien conquerors, it’ll be easy to understand or believe Thanos is an immortal, evil demi-god, especially with a Guardians of the Galaxy film.
This film either has to be the start of a bigger war in space, like the Kree-Skrull War, one that pushes our heroes to new places as much as we the audience. Avengers director Joss Whedon has stated that he would like to make the second film less focused on action set-pieces and more on making it “personal.” A film set in space could certain give him the same magic he had with Firefly, giving audiences action filled with beautiful space battles, but ever driven by character development and dark moments, with a touch of humor to keep things from being bleak.
This movie could also push our heroes even further in questioning who they are, why they’re needed, and what will happen afterwards… With the remaining movies leading to the end of the Avengers “Trilogy” and the Marvel Filmverse storyarcs, Feige and the directors and writers may decide to explore unusual territory, perhaps leaving a hero stranded in space or completely displaced in an unfamiliar setting, and allow that hero’s solo film to start off from where Avengers 2 left off.
Assuming Fox still owns the rights, it’d also be interesting to see what could be in store for the heroes in the final leg of the race since Galactus is the only majorly powerful “villain” to graduate to from Thanos. If Marvel wants to try something new, they could attempt an extinction-level event with the coming of the Celestials, god-like beings who are even a force for Galactus to contend with, creating a movie that gives a sense of hopelessness for a group of heroes who—at this point—will have no peer in the universe. This would make it really personal for each character, making an emphasis on relationships, mortality, and courage, themes that resonate well with a “last stand” plot. If that’s too cosmic for your tastes, the movies may decide to forego space altogether, creating a devastating challenge on Earth that keeps the heroes grounded and as “personal” as ever [Perhaps a Civil War or sumthin'? -Smilin' Louis].
A Sidebar with the Gentleman Monster: “Oddly, I’d like to see Civil War turned into a future Avengers film despite my distaste for the Civil War comic. I just really dug the dynamic between RDJ’s Iron Man and Chris Evans’ Captain America. The tension between them during their arguments was so perfect for a Civil War film. It was great seeing them overcome their differences so they could work together, but I’d love to see a movie that was mostly the two of them arguing. If Whedon worked on the Civil War movie, we’d get more of the fantastic character interactions under duress that made the scenes of the Avengers arguing so damn great, but the drama would be higher. We’d also get to see Hawkeye argue with Captain America. If there is one thing I need more of in the next Avengers movie, it’s Cap and Hawkeye arguing.”
Whatever the case may be, Marvel has outdone itself so far in bringing together a project whose scope has not only succeeded, but set the bar for superhero movies to come. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for more details, but until then, all we have our own wishes, hopes, and theories.