There is a lot of new info about the major Marvel superhero movies floating around the Web right now, and because we at Screen Rant believe in a lifestyle of convenience, we’ve pulled together all the bits and pieces into one cohesive Marvel Movie Update.

If you’ve been wondering what’s the latest with Iron Man 2, Thor, The First Avenger: Captain America or the much-anticipated grand-slam finale, The Avengers, then be sure to keep on reading. Oh, and not to be left out of the club, we’ve got some quick recaps on what’s going on with  Spider-Man 4.

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IRON MAN 2

Iron Man 2 director Jon Favreau recently got an “Atta Boy!” from George Lucas. Lucas handpicked Favreau to interview him next weekend at the Four Seasons hotel in Chicago. Favreau will also present Lucas with the Gene Siskel Film Center Visionary Award for Innovation in Filmmaking (…for making one of the greatest sci-fi trilogies of all time).

Here’s what Lucas had to say about Favreau:

Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound have had the good fortune of working with Jon [on the ‘Iron Man’ films]…I know firsthand that he is the type of filmmaker that crews here love to work with, because he always gives them the opportunity to break new ground.

Is it me, or does George Lucas manage to fit a plug into every soundbite he gives? Probably just me. Still, that’s a good look for Jon Favreau. You can check out everything Favreau had to say about ducking out on Iron Man 2 to interview George Lucas by going here.

Iron Man 2 villain Mickey Rourke recently opened up a bit about what we can expect from his character, Whiplash. After some unofficial concept art of the Whiplash armor surfaced online recently, Iron Man 2 fans have been keeping web pages on constant refresh, hoping to get an official glimpse of Rourke-in-armor. Well, Mickey didn’t exactly provide a snapshot of his costume, but he did recently talk to Empire about what it’s like wearing the Whiplash suit:

“It’s been really brutal, because my Iron Man suit weighs 23lb. It’s sort of a half-suit, with half my skin showing, with lots of Russian tattoos, because [Whiplash is just] out of a Russian-zone prison.”

Rourke also told The Guardian that he decided to do half his dialogue in Russian, which he is learning for the film. All and all, sounds pretty badass.  And, if Jon Favreau’s Twitter page is any indication, we might be getting an official look at Mickey Rourke as Whiplash in the near future, so be sure to check back with us on the daily.

According to those same tweets, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow is also ‘kicking ass”;  Marvel president of production Kevin Feige was quoted at a recent industry conference as saying that Black Widow has “two sides” in film. Is that a refernce to her intitial entry as Tony Stark’s assistant, only to be later revealed as super-spy Black Widow? Or is it a reference (as First Showing‘s Alex Billington speculates) to a villainous betrayal by the lovely Russian spy? Guess we’ll find out when we see the movie!

Iron Man 2 is currently at the halfway mark of its shooting schedule. It’s slated to hit theaters on May 7, 2010.

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THOR

By now you should know that Thor will be played by Chris Hemsworth (Captain Kirk’s father in the new Star Trek movie); British actor Tom Hiddleston is playing Thor‘s nemisis, Loki; and director Kenneth Branagh is rumored to have tapped renowned thespian Brian Blessed to play Thor‘s father, the almighty Odin.

Kevin Feige dished that Thor will take place on both Earth and in otherworldly realms like Asgard, the mythical kingdom of the Norse gods. That claim by Feige backs up early rumors that Donald Blake, Thor‘s human counterpart from the comics, would NOT be a part of the story. And contrary to what many (read: I) thought, according to Feige, director Kenneth Branagh is NOT going to use the kind of Shakespearean dialogue that was often used in Thor comics. Are thy kidding?

On the business end, both Chris Hemsworth AND Tom Hiddleston are signed-on for multiple movies in “multiple franchises”. This is not surprising for Hemsworth (after all Thor does have to appear in The Avengers movie), but the news that Hiddleston was also included in the cross-pollinating deal hints that Loki could be up to his trickster ways in The Avengers

Thor is gearing up for production. It’s slated to hit theaters on May 20, 2011.

THE FIRST AVENGER: CAPTAIN AMERICA

You should already know that Joe Johnston is directing. If you don’t recognize the name, Johnston’s directing resume includes family adventure films such as Honey, I Shrunk The Kids and Jumanji; inspirational films such as October Sky; action/adventures like Hidalgo and even the upcoming creature-feature reboot, The Wolf Man. According to Feige, that kind of variety is what makes Johnston perfect to helm the kind of all-around adventure film Marvel wants for Captain America.

Feige also confirmed that Captain America will be a WWII period-piece (as was long rumored), although a more fun and adventurous period-piece a la Raiders of The Lost Ark. Then came some big news: Cap’s plucky sidekick Bucky will be included in the film “in some capacity.” Should I feel good about that? Or should I be feeling a bit of “Jar-Jar” anxiety? I’m not yet sure which.

In other Cap news: comic book insider Rich Johnston over at Bleeding Cool has been keeping careful eye on the June 17th release of Captain America #600 and the July 1st release of  Reborn #1, two books which are rumored to feature the resurrection of the recently deceased Captain America. According to Rich Johnston, comic book retailers are being asked to order extra stacks of the two books, as they will allegedly tie in to a “major announcement.” Johnston speculates that the announcement could potentially involve the casting of Captain America in the movie. Up until now, many actors have been rumored for the role, but there’s been little hint as to a frontrunner. Be sure to check back with us often in the next few weeks to see if they announce which actor has snagged the role.

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THE AVENGERS

The last we heard Jon Favreau was possibly going to helm The Avengers movie. Only real update to report is that according to Kevin Feige, Captain America will be involved in the film from the very start – meaning we won’t have to spend half the movie waiting for The Avengers to thaw him out of suspended animation. That’s good news, in my opinion: I was worried The Avengers was going to go the “Cap appears at the end” route. That would’ve been a serious cop-out.

Other little tidbits that Feige mentioned at the conference:

  • Writer Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) is finishing up another draft of the Ant-Man script.
  • Scarlet Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson are also signed on for multi-film, cross-franchise deals. Could we see Black Widow join The Avengers?
  • There will soon be another Marvel film announced for the summer of 2012. The Web is already abound with rumors of what it could be. Iron Man 3? Something completely new?
  • The order that the films are being released in (Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America and finally The Avengers) is not random. There is some kind of narrative purpose to the ordering.
  • Feige wants the Marvel movies to imitate the comics’ trend of surprise cameos by different characters in unexpected places. Sounds like fun to me.

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SPIDER-MAN 4

Quick updates on everything we’ve reported recently:

Spider-Man 4 is gearing up for production and is slated to hit theaters on May 6, 2011.

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That about does it for the Marvel Movie Update on Iron Man 2, Thor, The First Avenger: Captain America, The Avengers and Spider-Man 4.  Be sure to check back with Screen Rant regularly, as updates tend to come fast and furious in the summer season.

Sources: The Chicago Tribune via IESB, First Showing, Empire, The Guardian, Twitter, Bleeding Cool