Marvel is the biggest thing in Hollywood right now with The Avengers breaking the record for biggest film opening ever to kick off the 2012 summer movie season. With similar success seen by Earth's Mightiest internationally, Marvel now has the creative potential to do anything they please going forward and to take the risks they may have shied away from previously.
So, how long until Marvel goes smaller with the long-in-development Ant-Man movie from Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish? Perhaps sooner than we think.
Last year at San Diego Comic-Con, Edgar Wright took to the stage as part of the panel for Attack The Block and being in that atmosphere, he couldn't avoid the inevitable Ant-Man inquiries from fans. At the time he said they had handed in a revised script and even had some Ant-Man concept art done. After that, only silence on the Ant-Man front for a long period of time until The Avengers started doing the press circuit.
Marvel President Kevin Feige said he met again with Wright while in London for their Avengers premiere and again reiterated that Ant-Man is closer than it's ever been to becoming a reality, even hinting that "depending on what Edgar Wright films" for them, Marvel Studios could be pushing three films in one year.
Skip forward to Marvel's record-breaking weekend and Edgar Wright is teasing Ant-Man over Twitter, posting a pic of something he received in the mail.
Is he actually teasing an Ant-Man announcement? Is it just fan-mail? Is it something he actually received in the mail? Maybe it's something he bought on eBay?
How Marvel Studios is going to arrange their future slate of films has always been a hot topic behind-the-scenes at Screen Rant and on the Screen Rant Underground podcast. At the moment, there are a lot of questions about the franchise's future, beginning with the studio's mysterious 2014 release schedule.
In 2013, we have Iron Man 3 kicking off the summer on May 3 and Thor 2 testing out a fall release slot (the first time for Marvel Studios) on November 15th. In 2014, Captain America 2 was recently confirmed for an unusually early April 4th release date (Marvel Studios' first spring release date), meaning there are still weekends booked for that summer (May 16th and June 27th), weekends that Feige previously hinted we may learn about closer to (or at) this year's Comic-Con.
We're rather certain that The Avengers 2 won't release until 2015 so in our estimation Ant-Man could finally come out sometime in the summer of 2014, with the other film potentially going cosmic to lead into The Avengers 2 (we're thinking Guardians of the Galaxy or SHIELD).
Why either would work is because we know the Captain America sequel will tell the story of Steve Rogers acclimatizing to our modern world as he continues to work for the SHIELD organization and Nick Fury after the events in The Avengers. SHIELD will also be the focus of the Ant-Man movie as well where its titular character will play another spy for the organization. From all the talk about Black Widow and Hawkeye getting their own spinoffs, I've always believed it's far more likely that their stories could be fleshed out in a SHIELD movie which may be a more bankable idea with a larger supporting cast of familiar faces.
It could be the summer of SHIELD and a great way to lay the groundwork for Marvel's future if that turns out to be the case. All three of these movies could also tie together with cross-marketing via character cameos/appearances in each and it is these movies where the Wasp (Janet Van Dyne) character (someone Joss Whedon originally wanted in The Avengers) could make her first appearance as well.
Guardians of the Galaxy however, could continue the story of Thor 2 and lead into The Avengers 2, where a group of aliens team together to protect Earth.
For now it's all fun speculation but at this point, with the money The Avengers is raking in, it's all possible.
The Avengers stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Clark Gregg, Tom Hiddleston and Stellan Skarsgard. It is of course written and directed by Joss Whedon.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes if you’re a Marvel fan.
Header image edited from art by NorahSS.