The script for The Avengers: Age of Ultron is done - or as "done" as it can be on a dynamic and ever-changing production from Marvel Studios. Writer and director Joss Whedon handed in the first draft back before the summer, just before Iron Man 3 premiered in theaters and in the months since it's been re-worked and is now in the hands of some of the sequel's key talent, including Jeremy Renner who's reprising his role as Clint Barton aka Hawkeye in the followup where he'll get a little more personality and screen time.
With a May 2015 release date, principal photography for The Avengers 2 begins soon at London's popular Pinewood Studios - where Marvel previously shot Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor: The Dark World and Guardians of the Galaxy. Some of the film however, will also be shot in South Africa.
Back in May 2013, producer Anant Singh, Chairman of Cape Town Film Studios, told Cape Town radio station 5FM that they were in discussions with Marvel about possibly shooting some of The Avengers 2 there. As spotted by CBM, a South African casting coordinator, J.P. van der Merwe, has recently been added to the crew of the production, seemingly confirming that the team-up sequel will be shooting in multiple international locations.
Whedon previously spoke on the story of The Avengers 2 going more international and early casting rumors regarding the two new members joining Earth's Mightiest - siblings Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch - being of European descent. All of that remains speculation and hearsay for the time being, and the same goes for the latest reports and rumors regarding The Avengers: Age of Ultron having another villain - read about that here (warning: potential spoilers) - and Robert Downey Jr. attempting to get his acting pals Jodie Foster and Mel Gibson in one of the Avengers sequels.
The more interesting discussion point here is the obvious connection between the shooting location and Wakanda - a fictional African nation in Marvel Comics, home to Black Panther and the mysterious Vibranium metal alloy that Captain America's shield is made of. There were rumors around the same time Marvel began looking into South African shooting locations that they were also looking to cast Black Panther, but nothing came of it. More recently, Marvel Studios president of production Kevin Feige did say that a Black Panther film is "absolutely in development."
"In terms of Black Panther, it’s absolutely in development, and when you have something as rich as Wakanda and [Black Panther's] backstory – and clearly, Vibranium’s been introduced in the universe already – I don’t know when it will be exactly but certainly we have plans to bring him to life someday."
Is there any chance we can meet Black Panther in Age of Ultron? The Cape Town - Wakanda connection might sound thin at first glance if Marvel is only using Cape Town Film Studios to shoot, but if this does lead to what fans want (Wakanda!) there are exciting potential reveals ahead. A version of the Ultron villain is comprised of Vibranium in Marvel Comics so perhaps there's a way to finally give some love to Wakanda and at least introduce it for later use in the franchise. We do not believe however, that there's room to delve into Black Panther's story arc anytime soon. We're not even confident that Black Panther is one of the unannounced projects taking of the locked down Marvel release dates in 2016 and 2017.
In related news, last month we learned that Ben Davis (Guardians of the Galaxy) will be taking over director of photography duties on Age of Ultron from Seamus McGarvey, who's been busy with Godzilla and is taking on Fifty Shades of Grey next. Whedon brought in Davis based on the recommendation of Guardians director James Gunn.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier hits theaters April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014, The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on July 31, 2015, with unannounced films coming May 6 2016, July 8 2016 and May 5 2017.
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