Marvel Studios had a big presence at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday by providing fans with one of the most entertaining panels of the event. That presentation was of course, for Jon Favreau’s Iron Man 2, which he delivered to the loyal Hall H residents in full force.
Screen Rant master Vic and I attended the Iron Man 2 panel and were treated to something amazing. But we’ve already talked about that and while you wait for the trailer we saw to eventually come online, you may be wondering what updates there have been for the other more distant films in Marvel’s production queue.
Find the latest on the Avengers team-up film and other Marvel films in development after the jump.
After the panel, more Marvel movie goodies were revealed in some roundtable interviews where Vic was involved. Participating in the interviews were key cast members Robert Downey Jr., Don Cheadle and Scarlett Johansson, as well as director Jon Favreau and Marvel President of Production, Kevin Feige.
Feige had the most interesting things to say about the Iron Man sequel and the Avengers movie.
According to Feige, Iron Man 2 is not about cramming in too many characters, the cardinal sin of a sequel. He emphasizes that it’s totally Tony Stark’s story and that it’s going to weave into Thor’s story and Steve Rogers’ story and that it already is in Nick Fury’s and SHIELD. This is about Tony Stark glibly declaring “I am Iron Man” and what that means for him and those around him.
Any character franchise that launches must stand on its own two feet. They have to do the same thing with Thor and Captain America so that when the Avengers movie comes, it’s not just a team movie but has characters that you already care about, understand and empathize with.
If a sequel to The Incredible Hulk is ever made, Feige says it will be after the Avengers. I hope by then Marvel is able to increase their feature film financing capacity to be able to produce four big-budget blockbusters a year. Until that happens, I think Hulk is lower priority than other characters who are more worthy of sequels or origins movies.
On that note, later in the roundtable, Feige explained that after the writers strike, Marvel is back on schedule for two films a year (having none this year and only one next year in Iron Man 2). Feige re-iterated that the less the films cost, the more profit they make and the more films they can make.
As for Ed Norton playing Bruce Banner in Avengers, there’s a “chance” according to Feige, but he didn’t sound very positive. For continuity reasons and to really strengthen Marvel’s impact with this film, I personally find it important the Norton have a role in the movie. The Hulk along with Captain America, Iron Man and Thor are key to me and I think those four should comprise the core of the film and its title roster.
In planning Iron Man 2, Feige explained that they were interested in the villains that would enhance Tony’s character. Justin Hammer is who Stark was before he was ambushed in Afghanistan, the other side of his personality is the inventor/grease monkey side and that is represented by Whiplash. Feige says that it’s fun taking a character no one thinks much of and making him cool (Whiplash).
Feige reveals that at the start of the film, Stark is quite pleased with himself, but over the course of the film the stresses of being Iron Man will be demonstrated and become a crucial part of the story.
What other characters could we see in the future? Well, Kevin’s favorites are Dr Strange, Ant-Man, Black Panther and Iron Fist. All of which, without coincidence, have long been speculated as future Marvel movies in development. He also says that he’d like to break into the cosmic part of the Marvel Universe more (Thor will touch on this).
What kind of Thor can we expect? The Kirby/Stan Lee/Simonson Thor. In the Thor film, it’s based in the scientific, not fantasy – it’s simply science we just don’t yet understand or know about.
Head to the following page for more info and updates on the characters we’re likely to see in the Avengers.
On behalf of IESB, Christina Radish interviewed Feige and got some more details out of him. One of the questions asked was about Zak Penn and the status of his Avengers script, to which Kevin replied:
“It’s great. We’re learning as we go. It’s a new thing. Jon clearly is enthusiastic about it. Ken Branagh is enthusiastic about it. Joe Johnston is just getting into the mix now, on Captain America. The screenwriters have conference calls amongst themselves, in terms of what we’re doing. Sometimes we’ll change something. We’re not going to lock ourselves into something. No, if it doesn’t work for the movie we’re making, we shuffle it. I call them and go, ‘Remember that thing I told you about? We’re not doing it.’”
Next, Feige was asked about setting up elements of the Avengers movie in the solo films that come first, starting with the first Iron Man (where we met Nick Fury and were introduced to S.H.I.E.L.D.) He replied that they are in constant communication and that what they’re doing isn’t new (it’s done in the books all the time) but that it’s on a drastically different scale.
Will we see other supporting characters featured in the Avengers movie from the Marvel mythos? Kevin says “Probably a few, yeah.”
IESB’s interview also touched on the importance of signing Sam L to a long-term multi-picture contract to maintain the continuity of the films, as he does in his important role in the Ultimate Marvel comics universe. Similarly, Scarlett has a contract with options for follow-up movies, and her appearance in the Avengers movie will depend on what the fans want come time for that.
As for Captain America, they already have artists working up some concept images and prep is set to begin this October. We can expect casting decisions in the next few months.
So, with all these hints from the discussions scattered everywhere in different interviews, who will be on the roster for the Avengers?
Well, in an interview with io9, Feige was asked this and he responded:
“I think we know. I think it’s going to be Iron Man and Thor, Captain America and Nick Fury. I think it’s safe to assume that there will be some members of the Hulk universe in the film as well. In terms of the additional I think Black Widow, sure. The SHIELD organization for sure. What’s exciting, for me, about The Avengers movie is seeing those four characters interact with each other. I think anywhere from the first issues of The Avengers to Civil War the dynamic between Steve Rogers and Tony Stark is just awesome, it’s fascinating. It brings out sides in others that won’t be brought out in the other franchises. Going forward with the mix is a whole other thing, I think it will be cool. So to pile on another 15 or 10, frankly more than four would be too many.”
Fury’s involvement is necessary but I hope the field battle is left to the core team of superheroes. For that reason, I think Hulk’s involvement is very important, but again this seems to be the unclear and worrisome topic from all of these interviews.
The following question from io9 touched on this by directly asking the producer if Hulk would be in the Avengers. In response, Feige only said “Zak Penn is outlining it as we speak, so we’ll see.”
I think they did a fantastic job of storytelling with last summer’s Hulk film and they made it fit into the universe perfectly. Despite the reports and rumors of Ed Norton having disputes with Marvel over that movie’s production, he did a great job as Bruce Banner and I’d love to see him interact with Tony Stark and Steve Rogers and Nick Fury among others. That would also hopefully kickstart a solo sequel for the big green man.
Of the slate of Marvel films coming up, Iron Man 2 of course hits theaters first on May 7, 2010. The following summer, Thor opens May 20, 2011 and The First Avenger: Captain America opens July 22, 2011. Last but not least, we have the Avengers kicking off the following summer, May 4, 2012.
Header image edited from Steve Epting’s beautiful cover art of Avengers Disassembled: Iron Man, Thor & Captain America.
Who do you want in the Avengers film and what do you think of Hulk’s future?