Comic-Con 2013 may be over, but it brought with the reveal of the title for Marvel Studios' next superhero team-up movie - The Avengers: Age of Ultron. The sequel now seems closer than ever, though it won't begin filming until next year, and after The Avengers made $1.5 billion at the box office, becoming the highest-grossing comic book movie of all time, there's a lot of hype to live up to.
Amidst this are questions and speculation as to which characters from the first movie will be making a return. It's already been confirmed that Loki won't be in this one (as the title suggests, there's a new villain in town), but what about Loki's "victim," Agent Phil Coulson, who was last seen in The Avengers with a supposedly fatal stab wound? Now that Coulson is getting his own spin-off TV show, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., could he make a return in The Avengers: Age of Ultron as well?
Unfortunately for Coulson fans who were hoping to see the unflappable (well, unless he's around Steve Rogers) special agent return to help the team in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Whedon says that Coulson isn't in the current draft of the script. In an interview with the Associated Press, Whedon explained that he's currently struggling to cut the script down, rather than trying to add extra bits in:
"He could [return]. Right now it's not something I'm pursuing because I have so much going on in 'Avengers 2'. Finding out that Coulson is alive would be an entire B story. And I already have too much movie."
Whedon does have an exhausting amount of story to fit into The Avengers: Age of Ultron already. As the title suggests, the film will be an origin story for robotic Marvel villain, Ultron (different from his comic book origins, since Henry Pym AKA Ant-Man apparently won't be involved in the story). All of this will be layered on top of the already impressive task of once again bringing together characters from four separate franchises and managing to give a reasonable amount of focus to each of them, as well as developing character arcs for Hawkeye, Black Widow, Nick Fury and many others from the Marvel universe.
In the other direction, Whedon was also quizzed about the possibility of Marvel movie characters making an appearance in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Specifically, he was asked whether Samuel L. Jackson - who had apparently expressed an interest in having a role on the show - would be joining the S.H.I.E.L.D. team on the small screen. Whedon explained why, although he loves the idea, he's not sure if it could be worked out:
"We would love to have Sam in the house. If we could work it out, we'd do it in a heartbeat. He's Sam. What are we, new? But we also have the movies and we have TV and we need to make sure there's some crossover, but not so much that people go, 'Well, I don't need to see that movie. I saw it on TV.' If we do that (Marvel Studios President) Kevin Feige is going to come after me with a pitchfork."
It's sort of understandable that Marvel wouldn't want to put its major stars in the TV show, but is Jackson did take a role in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. he would have to be prepared to accept the comparably meagre paycheck that came with it. Aside from voice work for The Boondocks and Afro Samurai, Jackson has never taken a regular starring role in a TV show, so if he does end up making an appearance on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. it will likely only be a cameo.
Since Coulson has been the connecting thread between so many of the Marvel movies so far, are you sorry to hear that he probably won't be returning for The Avengers: Age of Ultron?
Thor: The Dark World opens in theaters on November 8th, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4th, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1st, 2014, The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1st, 2015, Ant-Man on November 6th, 2015, and more unannounced Marvel films for May 6th, 2016, July 8th, 2016 and May 5th, 2017.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premieres September 24, 2013 at 8/7 on ABC.