Yesterday we rekindled the discussion on what plans Marvel Studios has in store for moviegoers post-The Avengers. We've listed the possibilities more than once for what Marvel films may enter production next, based on interviews with Marvel Execs and actors, and from official signings of writers and other talent.
What, or who, gave rise to the topic again was Marvel President of Consumer Products for Marvel, Paul Gitter, revealing that Marvel is at work behind the scenes, setting up the schedule of releases for the next few years, which will culminate to an epic conclusion of sorts come 2017. We still have no confirmation on what projects will hit theaters for the years in between, but actor Mark Ruffalo hints that there will be Avengers sequels and a possible new Hulk movie.
Ruffalo chatted with Empire recently in promoting The Kids Are All Right and when asked about taking over the role of Bruce Banner for The Avengers, he revealed what he expects are sequels to the ambitious team-up movie as well as a possible new Hulk solo feature down the road.
"They set up several pictures over a couple of years and possibly there will be a Hulk movie. There'll probably be a couple more Avengers too, which would be fun."
Before anyone jumps the gun on assuming this means there's another Hulk movie coming, this is not the case. There are more properties being talked about behind closed doors at Marvel Studios than you can count on your fingers and toes, so every potential project you and I can think of is or has been mentioned at some point. We've seen it with Samuel L. Jackson talking about a SHIELD movie and others talking about Dr. Strange, Black Panther and Heroes for Hire. Talk is cheap.
With both The Avengers and Runaways beginning production early next year, and with Thor and Captain America already deep into production, for release next summer, it may be a while before we see official confirmation on Marvel's next line-up of blockbuster movies. It really depends on the success of next summer.
As for The Avengers, of course there will be sequels. That's the brand that Marvel is banking on and the reason these actors have lengthy multi-picture contracts (Chris Evans and Sam L signed for 9 movies each...).
I'm not so sure another Hulk movie would be placed before the chance of introducing other properties like Iron Fist or Luke Cage. They've tried twice with the big green giant - with two different sets of talent - and the movie performed the same financially each time, despite the solid critical and fan reception to the Louis Leterrier-Ed Norton take. It didn't perform poorly by any means, but Bruce Banner will have his screen time in The Avengers and that may just have to do for a while.
Either way, we can look forward to Ruffalo giving it his all as both Bruce Banner and the motion-captured Hulk in The Avengers.
Thor opens May 5, 2011; The First Avenger: Captain America hits July 22, 2011 and The Avengers is scheduled to debut May 4, 2012.