The Avengers isn't just another film for Marvel Studios. It's the cornerstone event they've been planning carefully for years and the true beginning to their long-term franchising and merchandising plans. You can go into stores right now and see the "Avengers Assemble" tagline on the Thor action figures. It was even on their Easter chocolate!
One of the best ways to merchandise, as we see from the Transformers films, is to either introduce new characters and vehicles, or to introduce new designs of those through new costumes. A lot of what we're seeing in the Marvel Studios films and their adaptations of their characters draws inspiration from the Ultimates line of comics, and we expect as much from their costume designs in The Avengers.
One of the most exciting aspects of superhero movies and certainly a topic which brings the most criticism and attention are the designs of the superhero costumes. We saw it with Thor and Captain America and we're currently seeing a lot of it with The Amazing Spider-Man.
So on that note, let's run down what we know and expect from the costumes of The Avengers:
- Captain America will sport a new costume in The Avengers, as confirmed by Chris Evans in a recent interview. Expect a design less padded-looking than his WWII era one, perhaps something more akin to his modern comic designs.
- Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) will likely wear the same S.H.I.E.L.D. outfit from Iron Man 2 but her hairstyle will be different, sporting shorter red locks at the White House Correspondents' Dinner earlier this week (see photo below).
- Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) always has a new suit of armor to show off. In Iron Man 2, Tony Stark introduced audiences to the Mark V, Mark VI outfits. That's his "thing" and each new design means another new toyline! Maybe Whedon will introduce the Hulkbuster armor?
- Thor (Chris Hemsworth) only has one Asgardian superhero costume in his introductory solo film, but come time for The Avengers where he again helps his Earthly friends, he will undoubtedly get a new costume as well. Expect something more modern and techy as an alternative to his red cape.
- Hawkeye's costume will be closely designed after his outfit in the Ultimates line of comics. No purple spandex for Jeremy Renner.
- Nick Fury's black shirt-black pants-black trench coat gets an upgrade in The Avengers as well, as Kevin Feige points out that Samuel L. Jackson will sport a "slightly redesigned outfit with the eye patch."
- Hulk doesn't need a costume, but he'll be closely designed after the likeness of Mark Ruffalo, even down to the hair on his chest.
Here's a gallery which includes Scarlett Johansson's new, shorter red hair, Hulkbuster concept art and a few costume designs from Marvel's Ultimate line of comics.
With The Avengers only a few days into production and anticipation at a high with Thor debuting in North American theaters this weekend, fans are eager to find out more about their favorite Marvel heroes and future plans for the franchise. According to Marvel President Kevin Feige, we'll be finding out about their upcoming slate of films later in the summer, likely at Comic-Con.
Which costume design would you like to see your heroes wear?
The Avengers is written and directed by Joss Whedon, opening in theaters on May 4, 2012.
Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes