With Captain America: The Winter Soldier hitting theaters in coming weeks both abroad and in the US, interest in The Avengers: Age of Ultron is naturally being piqued, as Captain America 2 serves as the direct lead-in to Joss Whedon’s superhero team-up sequel. (Marvel Studios’ other 2014 tentpole, Guardians of the Galaxy will literally deal with a whole other side of the Marvel Movie Universe.)

The Captain America 2 cast is currently out doing press for their film, and actress (turned expecting mom) Scarlett Johansson had nothing but praise for the script that Joss Whedon has crafted for Age of Ultron, while a new rumor sort of reinforces one of the theories that we’ve had about The Avengers sequel and the films in Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Age of Ultron Script

Scarlett Johansson Pregnant What does this mean for The Avenger Avengers 2: Scar Jo Talks Story Progression; New Inhumans Origin Rumor

Speaking to Collider, here’s what Scar Jo had to say about the story that Whedon crafted for Avengers 2:

“I was just amazed—Joss is something else, he really is. He locks himself away for God knows how long; I think he has the dark circles to prove it. [He] just came out with something totally solid. I was really impressed by his ability to make this ever-expanding Marvel universe feel very close-knit and cerebral and progressive. I mean this movie feels like the continuation of The Avengers, it doesn’t feel like a tag-on or the rehashed version or just ‘let’s throw a bunch of new characters in there and keep the thing alive.’ It really feels like the next step, and all of our characters, our relationships with one another continue to progress, become more intertwined, more complicated, more meshed. And the film has a lot of great comic book moments that the fans are gonna love, but it’s also got a lot of really great dramatic moments that audience members, I think, will really relate to.”

While a lot of that quote echoes Thor actor Chris Hemsworth’s recent (and routine) praise of a “bigger, better” sequel, one has to wonder what the specifics are in regards to the ‘next step progressions’ of the story and characters. In The Avengers, the story and character arcs all centered on the idea of disparate personalities finding common ground to unite for greater purpose; we know the events of Captain America 2 put S.H.I.E.L.D. under scrutiny as a peace-keeping organization, while Iron Man 3 and the TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have examined what the world is becoming now that superheroes and aliens have all been confirmed as existing.

Taken altogether, one can see where Age of Ultron might pick up with the next chapter of this grand saga.

Ultron Marvel Comics Annihilation Conquest 5 Avengers 2: Scar Jo Talks Story Progression; New Inhumans Origin Rumor

If S.H.I.E.L.D. is crippled (or deemed obsolete), and new evil is rising up to rival the power of superheroes, one can surmise how something like an artificial intelligence (the robot Ultron, played by James Spader) might run amok and deem that the only way to protect the world is to save mankind from its own genetic arms race… And you’ve probably seen enough sci-fi movies to know how badly it goes when an A.I. decides to save humanity from itself.

Add to that the idea of super-powered beings (good or bad) creating a new and more dangerous world that can’t be policed in the old ways, and there is plenty of conflict present – both in the form of a mad robot, and the notions of freedom, protection and responsibility that the individual Avengers team members may disagree about.

The Avengers 2 Roster Fan Art Avengers 2: Scar Jo Talks Story Progression; New Inhumans Origin Rumor

With Tony Stark now powerless, Thor now earth-bound, Hulk in seclusion and Cap, Black Widow and Hawkeye presumably without a home (if Winter Soldier goes the way we think it might), getting these people back together and on the same page is going to definitely be an interesting story – especially when they meet two new super beings in Quicksilver (Aaron-Taylor Johnson) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen).

The Inhumans Theory

Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver Avengers 2: Scar Jo Talks Story Progression; New Inhumans Origin Rumor

We already know that Age of Ultron will involve a secondary villain in Baron von Strucker (played by Thomas Kretschmann). In our own analysis, we predicted that Strucker will be a villain early in the film – most likely employing the powers of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch for evil purposes, before the threat of Ultron eventually pulls the twins over to the Avengers side. Some recent revelations about the Captain America 2 post-credits scenes may lend credit to parts of our initial Strucker speculation – but UTF is taking things a step further by reiterating a rumor we ALSO speculated on during the early stages of Age of Ultron‘s development.


Avengers 2 Age of Ultron Inhumans Avengers 2: Scar Jo Talks Story Progression; New Inhumans Origin Rumor

According to UTF, they have sources now confirming that Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch will both be cinematic versions of Marvel’s Inhumans, rather than mutants. If you’re not aware, Fox (the studio which owns Marvel’s X-Men and Fantastic Four brands) also owns the whole idea of “Marvel mutants,” which is why Marvel Studios CANNOT use that term or idea in their films.

Traditionally, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are the mutant offspring of Magneto (a character that is, again, owned by Fox), so to be in Avengers 2 they need new origins and new explanations of their powers. Super soldier experiments, deities, and tech-enhanced warriors have all been done – and based on the revelations of the Captain America 2 post-credits scenes (which you can read at your own risk), it seems Marvel Studios could be re-branding mutants in a way that better fits their movie universe.

Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch Confirmed for Avengers 2 Avengers 2: Scar Jo Talks Story Progression; New Inhumans Origin Rumor

If the original Avengers exposed the possibility of super-powered beings to the world, then it’s only logical that further possibilities for super-powers would be explored by both good and bad factions within the MCU. With the Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy franchises revealing a whole big universe out there, The Inhumans are an easy way  to explain how super-beings (and powerful artifacts/weapons) exist, while also binding together the earth-bound and cosmic films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

For those who aren’t familiar, The Inhumans are a species of super-powered beings who were created by alien experiments on prehistoric humans. These “Inhumans” lived in secret until their presence (on the moon) was discovered. The key here, is that the aliens who created The Inhumans are the Kree – a species which will be featured in Guardians of the Galaxy, as that film’s villain, Ronan the Acuser (Lee Pace), is a Kree enforcer.

See how this all intertwines?

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We know that Thanos is still a big bad hovering over the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe – and that his cosmic war could be fought in Avengers 3. If Thanos has Kree henchmen, then the history of that species could filter into other Marvel projects any number of ways – creating mutant super-powered characters being an easy one. If Kree tech infuses humans with superpowers, we would therefore also have an easy explanation for how characters like Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel or other “cosmic heroes” get created.

The Inhuman origin story could also easily be updated to focus not on prehistoric humans, but rather modern genetic experimentation on humans using the discoveries of alien DNA. In fact, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has already introduced a plot thread involving characters like Coulson and Skye being infused with DNA from an unknown blue alien-looking creature; that creature could easily be revealed as a Kree (big and blue-skinned), tying AoS to events that could lead into Avengers 2.

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A Kree in ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’?

All in all, it seems like UTF‘s sources could be on the money with this latest theory. We’ll find out more in the coming year, no doubt.

 Captain America: The Winter Soldier hits theaters April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014, The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on July 17, 2015, and unannounced films for May 6 2016, July 8 2016 and May 5 2017.

Sources: Collider & UTF