Predicting Phase 2 of The Marvel Cinematic Universe

A guide to what may or what not happen for Marvel’s next slate of movies. Which means it’s not really a guide but some bullshit article where I feed my ego thinking I’m good at this predicting the future thing.

Yep, we’re definitely f****ed

The dust has settled over the announcements at San Diego Comic Con 2012, where once again, Marvel Studios stole the show with their panel for Iron Man 3, which featured some exclusive footage, titles for the sequels of the The Avengers’ Big Three and… even some new movie announcements; namely the rather obscure Ant-Man and Guardians of The Galaxy movies. Well, Ant-Man’s doesn’t have a release date yet but man, I just wanna see it happen. Especially if it’s going to be Marvel’s first real pure comedy superhero flick with Edgar Wright directing. With a test reel already shot, I would think that Marvel’s just waiting for Edgar to finish “World’s End” with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost so they can get down to “Pym-ping” business. So let’s take a look at the other films! Speculating’s all the fun these days in the blogosphere so let me try to attempt to use whatever knowledge I may have acquired while reading comics to try and predict whatever will happen to the Phase 2 movies of Marvel Studios. Chronologically, so we begin with…

1.) Iron Man 3 (Expected Release Date: 3rd May 2013)

The gold to red ratio is proportionate to the amount of women i’ve bedded to the ones I haven’t.

Iron Man’s all blinged out celebrating the success of “The Avengers” with a suit that’s more gold than red. Also expect to see a new paint job for War Machine, who’s borrowed the look of Norman Osborn’s Iron Patriot from the comics. The story is expected to be based around the “Extremis” arc from the comics. Guy Pearce will be playing baddie Aldrich Killian and Rebecca Hall as Maya Hansen, the scientist who develops the nano-virus that when injected into Tony Stark, allows him to be able to do super groovy things like basically having the Iron Man armour at his command at all times. Fun factoid, the “Extremis” virus is another attempt at recreating the Super Soldier Serum, which interfaces with the brain and allows the body to repair tissue quickly and by itself . And of course, there was the role of the previously unannounced Sir Ben Kingsley, who at SDCC was confirmed to be playing the ultimate arch rival of Iron Man, The Mandarin! Apparently he’ll be rocking a ponytail and looking all rock star like and creepily saying “There are no heroes.” Good for you, Sir Ben… good for you.

A huge part of the movie will involve Tony Stark tackling the realities of the post-Avengers world, which the footage at SDCC includes including a scene in which Happy Hogan resigns from his job as Stark’s bodyguard, claiming that he was embarrassed every time someone asked him about his job and that hopes Tony’s having fun with his bunch of “superfriends”. That’s what I’m excited about, to see how Tony handles the consequences of “The Avengers”. And Jon Favreau finally being able to just act as Happy would be cool, considering that Happy does turn into “The Freak” later in the comics. Judging from the comments made by both Shane Black and Kevin Feige so far, I’d expect some kind of a techno virus war waged between Tony and Killian + Mandarin that’ll have Tony beaten and desperate enough to test out the Extremis virus on himself. From the preview footage, Mandarin and Killian put Stark into some deep shit, destroying his posh Malibu pad and his Iron Man armoury to go with it. Other than that, I don’t think I can predict too much of Shane Black’s script… guy’s great at comedy and raising tension though and he did “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” with Robert Downey Jr. too. Great fit. Can’t wait to see more.

2.) Thor: The Dark World (Estimated Release Date: 13 November 2013)

Dark World? Is it so black that there’s… none, none more black.

Here’s where the fun starts. Probably the most Loki… low key (I’m sorry I won’t make that joke ever again) movie in Marvel’s future stable with the least amount of hype so far, because of the vague subtitle and lack of details so far. However, it’s due to shoot real soon (like August soon) in London and details have been slowly revealing themselves as the crew preps for production. Lots of various rumours were bandied about regarding the film’s potential villains, including Amora the Enchantress and her hulking boy toy, Skurge the Executioner or fire demon Surtur.

Enticing and enchanting. No. I didn’t just call Skurge enticing.

However, some new happenings have propped up that may have given us a clue to not just what is likely to happen in the 2nd Thor movie, but also the 3rd. First, word got up that Mads Mikkelsen, the scary ass dude from “Casino Royale” was up for a villainous role in the flick.

Mads. Mads. Mads. That’s his name. Hey Mads. U mad?

He didn’t end up but getting it due to a commitment to the pilot of a new Hannibal Lector TV show but take a look at the guy. Does he look like an Executioner or Surtur type to you? No. Hell no.

Then, hours before Comic Con… it leaked that the full title for Thor 2 was “Thor: The Dark World”. What the heck could the dark world be referring to? A world which Thor’s thunderbolts short circuits every city on Earth, leaving no lights on? Maybe… because I’d actually pay to watch that. But as a quick look at my trusty chart of Yggdrasill, the world tree shows that more likely than not, it’s the world of Svartalfheim, home of the dark elves.

Even more damning evidence came when a stunt man, James Grogan, gave this quote to the media regarding working with director Alan Taylor.

 “The other day…I was working on Thor 2. I had a load of stunt guys in and the director came in and he said ‘Look, we want you all to be elves,’ and I was like ‘What the hell is an elf anyway?’ and he said ‘I want you all to walk around like these supernatural animals,’ honestly it was the most ridiculous thing ever but you just have to not be self aware and get on with it.”

The accursed. Also known as elf Two-Face.

So… it’s pretty much undeniable now. The villain’s a dark elf. The movie will take place (at least partially) in Svartalfheim. The only notable Thor villain who’s a dark elf? The ruler of the dark elves, Malekith the Accursed. Notice the resemblance with Mads! (Sorry, his name is JUST SO FREAKING ADDICTIVE.) Now. From whatever Tom Hiddleston, Kevin Feige and Chris Hemsworth have said so far about the movie, it’s that Loki will still play a key role in the sequel… despite not being the main villain. Malekith has an appearance in Walt Simonson’s classic run on Thor… which if you haven’t already… should seriously consider checking out as I did two months back… it’s a good read with great tension building and battles as well as the introduction of Beta Ray Bill aka Sarah Jessica Parker’s doppleganger. So, in that arc… there’s a story in which Malekith steals the Casket of Ancient Winters (again!) in a bid to unleash hell on Earth once more. His accomplice in getting that artifact? Loki. Who was Malekith working on behalf of? Surtur the fire giant.

Hi. I’m naked. My giant fire dong says “nice to meet you”.

Surtur, the apocalyptic force of fire that is more than a match for both Odin and Thor combined? Fuck yes, I would love to see that in a third Thor film as the ultimate foe for the God of Thunder. His giant sword “Twillight”, also known as the sword of doom is pretty much capable of all kinds of ridiculous things like shattering dimensional barriers,shaving Odin’s beard cleanly and also probably bringing about Ragnarok (the death of the Norse Gods). I should also casually note that it increases its power when it is lighted up by the Eternal Flame. Wait. What the hell is that?

The deadly weapon named after a The Bangles/Atomic Kitten song.

Well, if you look to the right… introducing the Eternal Flame! An artifact that not just juices the freaking sword up, but also amps Surtur up when he is around it? What is this? Heroin of the fire giants? Man, Odin should really stop hoarding these dangerous weapons. Maybe get Scrat from Ice Age to bury them somewhere or whatever.

But honestly? Dark Elves sound great. They have an array of magical abilities, like teleportation, illusion casting… the ability to fly by turning into mist. It all sounds visually great and a good fit for new director Alan Taylor, who has done some great episodes on the “Game Of Thrones” series.

And if Surtur is indeed the end game for the solo Thor movies? Count me in.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Estimated Release Date: 3rd April 2014)

Bionic arms. Great for… bionic stuff.

This was the title announcement that caused most fanboys to absolutely lose their shit and go bonkers the moment they heard it. With good reason too. As Cap went after Dr. Arnim Zola on a train in the first movie, his best friend Bucky Barnes tragically fell off a train. Of course, we never actually see Bucky die, we just presume he just did from that height and velocity. That leaves an opening for him to be brought back of course.

And by God, they’re doing it. Bucky was one of the few characters that along with Uncle Ben and Jason Todd (the 2nd Robin) had remained dead for years without being touched. Oddly enough by 2005, both Bucky and Jason had been resurrected. Writer Ed Brubaker’s re-imagining of Bucky sees Bucky, half dead but preserved in ice, found by the Russians. Suffering from amnesia and brain damage because of the plane explosion, Bucky has no recollection of his memories and is planted with a bionic arm that the Soviets continually upgrade over the years. He is programmed to be an assassin and is sent on wet work missions… only to be frozen cryogenically after each mission, explaining how he could still look so young.

The Winter Soldier gives Captain America a unique set of challenges.  Firstly, well… he was Steve’s best friend. That’s always hard. Secondly, Steve will have to confront his guilt over Bucky’s apparent death from way back in the War. As Kevin Feige has stated, Cap 2 will be the movie with the strongest S.H.I.E.L.D. presence of all the Avenger solo movies. So, Hawkeye and Widow fans, pray that they appear. As such, I think it may not be too much of a stretch that the Winter Soldier’s origin will be rewritten to show a rival organization being the ones that reprogram Bucky into a bionic killing machine. Maybe it’s HYDRA and a miraculously alive Red Skull? Or Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM) which is being introduced in Iron Man 3?

It’s a bird…

… a giant fucking bird.

Further rumours also state that Anthony Mackie has basically been locked up to play the Falcon. A long time sidekick of Captain America in the comics, Sam Wilson possesses a rather ridiculous superpower… the ability to communicate mentally with his pet bird, Redwing as well as other birds. Some writers have been able to put a cooler spin on him, with talons and wings made of holographic hard light for example. We should expect to see what the style of Hawkeye’s costume change happen here as well. They both have pretty goofy costumes so expect the ultimate costume to be chosen for adaptation instead, just like Hawkeye.

And what about the end of Captain America? Steve wakes up in a room faithfully recreated to still resemble the 40s. In steps a S.H.I.E.L.D agent played by Amanda Righetti. Who is she? Would Marvel have gotten her to play merely a bit part? It reeks of something. Many have speculated Sharon Carter, niece of Peggy and also-lover of Steve. Which is pretty gross now that I’ve re-read what I just wrote. Damn.

This screams… “Set up.”

Guardians of The Galaxy (Estimated Release Date: 1st August 2014)

L-R: Drax The Destroyer, Groot, Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Gamora

The ballsiest move of the Con, by far. Marvel has essentially told DC, we’re gonna make a better Sci-Fi spacefaring superhero movie, without characters that have less name recognition than yours! Balls, my friends, balls. Thy gauntlet hath been thrown.

We should have known something was fishy last year during the Captain America press tour when without any prior hints of development, Kevin Feige revealed that they were interested in making a GOTG movie about the 2008 iteration of the team. WTF, we fanboys exclaimed. Where’s Black Panther? Dr. Strange, pretty please? Hell, give us Namor even! But after “The Avengers” and the reveal of Thanos, it all makes sense now. GOTG is an essential movie that’ll set up Thanos’ clash with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

The presence of Drax the Destroyer on the team alone practically confirms Thanos as the villain. Drax is a human remade by the Titans (Thanos’ own race) with ONE sole purpose; TO KILL THANOS. There’s also Gamora, adopted daughter of Thanos. Cute/out there factor is supplied in tons by Groot and Rocket Raccoon, a tree/rodent buddy combo that’ll probably have people scratching their heads yet thinking just how awesome this is. Throw in Star Lord, sarcastic jerk who leads the team in actively seeking out and ending threats in the galaxy before they happen. Marvel will also probably include Nova, who’s been given a huge push in terms of public appearances lately, appearing in both the “Ultimate Spider-Man” cartoon and “Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3” game. The Nova Corps almost Green Lantern like tone, coupled with Richard Rider’s almost Peter Parker like tone should be able to sell more people on the concept of a GOTG movie. Also, a former member, Adam Warlock could also appear, having been in heavily involved in storylines with Thanos, including the Infinity Gauntlet.

After Thanos’ reveal, almost everyone on the interwebs went nuts, me included, shouting “INFINITY GAUNTLET” in loud cybervoices. And while that’s Thanos’ most famous storyline, there might be a another route Marvel could take. Thanos’ first major storyline involved him going after his home planet of Titan with a nuclear bombardment. He gets a hold of the Cosmic Cube AKA the Tessaract in the MCU but is stopped by Captain Marvel. That’s one possible way they could take, especially as Kevin Feige has continued to stress that the Tessaract would continue to play an important role in the MCU. I guess Thanos has to go through Asgard no matter what, cube or gauntlet. Marvel could also adapt elements of the event comics “Annihilation” and “The Thanos Imperative”, two events in which the GOTG and Thanos were both heavily involved in. Many directions to go in, all potentially great.

What about you? Do you have any potential theories about the movies? Share them with us in the comment section!

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