Marvel Studios is preparing to get started on the production of The Avengers, the ultimate comic book movie that will see all of the studio's current superheroes join together. For fans, the best part of Marvel Studios' long-term plans is that The Avengers is just the beginning.
The cast of The Avengers are signed on for lengthy multi-picture contracts. So after we meet Thor and Captain America, and see them partner up with Iron Man and Hulk for Joss Whedon's big blockbuster, we're going to see them a lot more, potentially in further solo films and in sequels to The Avengers. In fact, they're already working away on the story for Captain America 2.
In February, we reported that in Captain America: The First Avenger screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely had signed with Marvel to also write Captain America 2. While this may be standard for big comic book movie fare, it shows the studio's confidence in the first film's success and the writing/story behind it.
With The First Avenger taking place during WWII and The Avengers jumping ahead to the present era, when in the timeline would Captain America 2 take place?
MTV chatted with Markus and McFeely about the post-Avengers plans and touched on this issue. Markus responds by explaining that they've not decided yet, but that they have a lot of options between the two timelines.
"We're very early, still. This is the fun part — when we can say, "Hey, we can do this!" and everyone says, "Yeah!" No one says anything negative at this point in the process. We have a million great ideas and haven't thrown any of them out yet. That being said, it's sort of a weirdly huge opportunity for storytelling in that you know modern Cap through the Avengers at that point, and just by the nature of what we were talking about before, there's going to be a lot of his World War II history we haven't shown. We're going to have two entire timelines to play with."
McFeely continues, explaining that the direction Captain America 2 may largely depend on the reaction to Captain America: The First Avenger when it hits theaters in July.
"I wonder if the reaction to ["The First Avenger"] will steer us in some way. First, if it does well... Then, if it does well and people embrace the World War II aspect of it, maybe there's pressure to return there in a large way. But if they don't embrace that aspect and just love Chris Evans as Steve, maybe there's less pressure to do that — you can just keep him in the Avengers universe."
With Sebastian Stan signing a multi-picture contract as Bucky Barnes, it's without question that we can expect him to return in the sequel(s), perhaps one day becoming the Winter Soldier and maybe even taking on the role of Captain America himself down the road. I wouldn't be surprised to see Captain America 2 playing with both timelines in order to introduce historical events that the hero must deal with in the present. This way, they can still bring back most of the cast from the first movie.
Once The Avengers becomes a reality and this band of superheroes forms, how do further solo movies approach the idea of having one of the characters go off on their own like they do in the comic books? Why wouldn't Steve Rogers call in a favor from his hammer-wielding Asgardian pal? Says Christopher Markus:
"It's weirdly the same opportunity that the Marvel comic book guys have been having the last however-many years. All of those Avengers characters have solo comic books. You have to say 'Captain America was on vacation the day when that solo adventure happened,' or explain why Iron Man didn't call all of his super-powered friends when he was fighting that guy. It's a bizarre problem to have... It's not really a problem, actually. [Laughs]"
With Iron Man 3 already having a summer 2013 release date, director Shane Black will be the first to deal with that issue of having Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) run off on his own. I wouldn't be surprised to see some guest appearances and cameos from his friends, though.
Directed by Joe Johnston, Captain America: The First Avenger stars Chris Evans stars alongside Neal McDonough’s Dum Dum Dugan, Tommy Lee Jones‘ Colonel Phillips, Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull, Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter, Stanley Tucci as Abraham Erskine, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark, Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes and Derek Luke as Gabe Jones. As for the sequel, it's anyone's guess who will return.
Captain America hits theaters July 22, 2011 and The Avengers is scheduled to debut May 4, 2012.