This is certainly the most interesting statement to come from the chat with Gregg, specifically when he mentions that the "first act of this giant epic" occurs in The Avengers. It's no surprise that The Avengers will drive the franchise into spawning many other movies, many that we've already seen enter early development (Dr. Strange, Iron First, etc.) but if they (or most) tie into a bigger story arc, then we can start imagining the bigger picture and structure behind it all. It's a sure-thing The Avengers will have sequels and perhaps then we can see characters like Ant-Man, Wasp, Black Panther and others join the crew.
The Avengers will introduce to us our heroes joining together, and learning to work as a team as we are also introduced to a greater threat for which none of these heroes can stand against alone. But this enemy may be but a minion of the great overarching enemy who we could see in sequels - at least, that's the plan should Marvel bank well at the box office.
Such a large behind-the-scenes story also provides a place for a SHIELD movie to exist. How about a movie starring Agent Coulson? They're already in talks with Scarlett Johansson for a possible Black Widow spinoff...
"I'm ready. I'm waiting for that call. Definitely Agent Coulson is really shrewd, he doesn't get into fights that he can't win. So he's waiting for the right moment, for a feeble enough opponent to come along. Certainly in Thor, there are some exciting moments involving Agent Coulson. I'm not going to say another word."
That won't happen but I'm definitely interested in a potential SHIELD movie for which Samuel L. Jackson hinted at as a potential film shooting next year and for which Marvel President Kevin Feige showed an interest in.
There's limitless potential here and that's no doubt a big part of why Disney wanted to jump into the action in acquiring Marvel. The trick will be to ensure each movie is good so we all desire more.
Thor opens May 5, 2011; The First Avenger: Captain America hits July 22, 2011 and The Avengers is scheduled to debut May 4, 2012.