The recent released concept art of the Vision in the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron has left fan heads reeling and bodies all a tingle as we anticipate the coming of the next great installment in the Avengers Initiative.
With every Marvel movie released, the enthusiasm grows stronger and stronger with little or no murmuring about any casting choice or story direction. This includes the runaway hit Guardians of the Galaxy. Marvel/Disney seems to have its act together as all other franchises are barraged daily with a never ending outcry on each and every choice and announcement made. From Affleck as Batman, to Quicksilver’s costume in X-Men: Days of Future Past (which worked out, right?), to Black Johnny Storm and fans issues with the new Amazing Spider-Man, there never seems to be an end to what is wrong with these up coming movies in the eyes of those that follow these pictures with eager anticipation. But, kudos must be given to Marvel for the thoughtful, careful planning that they have obviously put into their movies.
That being said, I believe Marvel/Disney deserve another ‘atta boy.’ For, on further review of their choices of new Avengers in the next movie, I believe they have revealed a long term plan that, if it’s true, will cause the Avengers franchise to rise far above any other comic property in the coming years. For, in the detail of the new roster additions, we see a progression that impressively follows the very flow of the original Avenger’s comics themselves!
Starting with the ‘Big Three’ was an obvious choice, for Captain America, Thor and Iron Man have always been the core of the group. Adding The Hulk was a nod to continuity in that he was an original, if not, short term member of the iconic team. His instability will more than likely cause the others to begin to distrust him and will drive him from the team much like it did in the comics. Hawkeye and Black Widow were the oddest of choices as they came a bit farther down the line (Hawkeye joined in Issue #16 and the Black Widow in Issue #111 in the 70s). But Hawkeye, at least, although not given much of a personality or back-story, became a fourth wheel that propelled the Avengers on in the decades to come. (Can anybody say, West Coast Avengers?) So, his inclusion doesn’t seem that strange.
My major point here is that, as we follow the original Avengers comics in succession, we find that many of those that were added to the roster in the early days of the Avengers of the Sixties match casting choices for the next Avengers movie. With the exception of Black Widow and Ms. Marvel, every choice that Marvel has made has followed the comics perfectly. For, in the sixties, we saw the arrival of a whole new group of Avengers. And it is for this reason that I believe that Marvel/Disney has planned this perfectly from the beginning and gives us a hint of what is to come. Because the question that has begun to be asked is ‘What happens after Avengers 3?’, and I think I have the answer. Now, stay with me here…
The even bigger question about the fate of the Avengers after their third installment (which is being touted as part of the Phase 4) is will Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth be on for more movies after the end of the trilogy. Right now? No. These actor’s contracts end after 3 solo movies and 3 Avengers movies. In an interview with DigitalSpy.com last May, Chris Evans stated that they wanted him for nine movies, but they got six. So all three actors are reportedly done after Avengers 3? Can the franchise survive the lose of the big three? My answer is yes. Here’s why.
They wanted Chris Evans for nine movies (3 more than Downey and Hemsworth) because they had long term plans for the Captain America character; which all makes sense. For in issue sixteen of the Avengers comic, Thor and Iron Man leave the Avengers, as do Wasp and Ant-Man. This leaves Captain America in charge (another trilogy; there for 9 movies) with a fledgling group that consists of himself, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and Hawkeye. Now, and this is a possible spoiler, Sebastian Stan WAS signed on for nine movies and I totally expect him to pick up the shield by Cap 3! This will be the Captain America that leads the next phase, in my humble opinion.
So, Marvel has planned for a change of the guard much like the one depicted in the comics back in the sixties!! Is anyone else getting excited yet?
Also brought into the Avengers in the sixties was an evil android that turned on his master Ultron; an anomaly called The Vision! After that, characters like the Black Knight, the Swordsman, Hercules and the Black Panther are welcomed into the ranks. Of the three, only the Black Panther has been announced for a solo movie, which is still in the hopper for Phase 4.
But the obvious plan doesn’t stop there. We still have a couple of the founding members of the Avengers to deal with; Ant-Man and his lady love, the Wasp. Now, Ant-Man is already on the schedule for Phase 3 with casting made for not only the original Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) but his upstart successor who stole the suit from him, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd). There is even rumors that the casting of Evangeline Lilly suggests the coming of the lovely Wasp. Imdb.com has her listed as Hope Van Dyne. Could she be playing the original Wasp Janet Van Dyne’s daughter?
So, one more piece of the puzzle is in place, but this opens up a whole new possibility with another character introduced in the sixties: Giant-Man. Now, Giant-Man was, at first, Hank Pym as he found his shrinking enabled by the Pym Particles could be reversed to make him grow. Later, Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye, became Giant-Man for a short stint. Now with Ant-Man coming directly after Avengers: Age of Ultron, a transition to a Giant-Man character would be easy, especially with comments like the one from Director Edgar Wright:
Obviously the shrinking is incredibly visual, the fact that he can shrink and enlarge, kind of mid-combat…
Thus we have come full circle. Thor, Cap and Iron Man will leave the Avengers in one form or another. Something will happen to the Black Widow (possible heel turn?), and the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, the Vision, Wasp and Ant-Man will fill the roster with possibly a much anticipated Black Panther arriving as the first Afro-American Avenger. Spoiler again…and I believe they will be lead by the Winter Soldier who will become the next Captain America.
OK, I’m giddy! I’m not ashamed to admit it. Because, if they are truly following the canon script, can great characters like Beast (crossover from the X-men), Wonder Man or She-Hulk be far behind? And don’t forget, Ms. Marvel has already been hinted at, and the Falcon and War Machine/The Iron Patriot have already been introduced into the movie canon.
The question still remains. Can the franchise survive the loss of Downey, Evans and Hemsworth? Can the remaining Avengers hold the Avengers Initiative together. I personally think Marvel’s got this.
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