This week has been filled with news, and as a result I’m interrupting the normal ‘Week of Marvels’ to give you this special post: YOUR GUIDE TO TOMORROW’S MARVEL!
Marvel Universe LIVE!
Before I go any further, Marvel Universe is coming – and there’s a cool Facebook photo contest! Take a look!
The cinematic universe
With the Guardians of the Galaxy premiere last night, the hype is in full flow for this latest instalment of the Marvel cinematic universe. That being said, those who viewed the premiere will have missed one thing – the post-credits scene was cut from the premiere, possibly because it hints at Marvel’s future direction. Director James Gunn is confirmed to be returning for the (inevitable) sequel, and Marvel have also announced there’s going to be an animated series! While it seems GotG movies will occur in the same broader universe as the Avengers franchise, Marvel appear to be attempting to make this into a brand new franchise that stands on its own feet.
This year will also see the return of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the launch of Agent Carter. Director Coulson will be charged with rebuilding the devastated espionage agency, while in Agent Carter we see the origin story. A word whispered was ‘Zodiac’… Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will see the S.H.I.E.L.D. roster enlarge, with Lucy Lawless playing Isabel Hartly, a long-time veteran with an attitude, and Nick Blood as mercenary Lance Hunter (in comics traditionally a member of the British spy group, S.T.R.I.K.E.). Most importantly, though, there was mention at Comic Con of the name Bobbi Morse, better known as the Avenger named Mockingbird!
Kevin Feige, head of Marvel Studios, has been doing the rounds and given us a lot of details. Certainly for the next couple of years, and possibly for the foreseeable future, Marvel are planning to run with a ‘one sequel, one new franchise’ model. Their plans are:
- Guardians of the Galaxy: August 1st, 2014
- Avengers: Age of Ultron: May 1st, 2015
- Ant-Man: July 17th, 2015
- Captain America 3: May 6th, 2016
- Untitled film: July 8th, 2016
- Untitled film: May 5th, 2017
- Untitled film: July 28th, 2017
- Untitled film: November 3rd, 2017
- Untitled film: July 6th, 2018
- Untitled film: November 2nd, 2018
- Untitled film: May 3rd, 2019
We know that Doctor Strange will fit into one of these slots (there are rumours that Joaquin Phoenix may play the title part). One that won’t, however, is Planet Hulk; contrary to all teasers, Kevin Feige has spoken out against the idea, as Mark Ruffalo wouldn’t appear and that would kind of defeat the point.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is in progress, with Comic Con teasers released – and portraying the Avengers in pitched battle against Ultron’s army!
Although Quicksilver appears in both X-Men and Avenger franchises, Kevin Feige insists that the Avengers movies play on the character in two different ways:
“One is his relationship with Wanda; the other is, his backstory as an Eastern European child of a war-torn country, and we follow him throughout the whole movie – him and Wanda – as it relates to their feelings about the Avengers and how that shifts and changes over the course of the movie.”
Ant-Man is the particularly troubled film, with actors Patrick Wilson, Matt Gerald and Kevin Weisman dropping out after the recent Director-troubles that production has struggled with. Still, that hasn’t stopped Marvel releasing a poster:
Kevin Feige has hinted that the Red Skull and the real Mandarin could yet turn up. He’s also made it very clear that the Avengers will have an ever-changing line-up, and that it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Doctor Strange will wind up on the team. Interestingly, in a recent interview Robert Downey Jr sounded more open to returning for an Iron Man 4 than before.
Tomorrow’s Marvel is a very different place!
We already know that the current Uncanny X-Men plotline is going to radically redefine the status quo for the X-Men universe, and that everybody’s favourite Canucklehead is slated for termination in the Death of Wolverine arc.
EDIT: Details are slipping out. We’ve seen the Trial of Jean Grey – now it’s time for the Trial of Hank McCoy, as the Beast must face his many mistakes. Long-term readers of this blog will know my thoughts on Hank McCoy; I wonder if I’m right..! And November will feature an X-Men Annual penned by Bendis that focuses in on Eva Bell.
The X-Men and the Avengers are also headed for the events of AXIS, an event in which the Red Skull (now the Red Onslaught) launches anti-mutant hysteria worldwide. Reportedly Magneto and Loki will be key books in this series, and Iron Man is significantly affected by this. In a curious twist, we also now know that there are plans to bring the character of Elixir back into play (since he was last seen on Genosha, where the Red Skull is based, that may be rather logical).
Captain America, meanwhile, is passing on the shield to Sam Wilson, better known as the Falcon, in All-New Captain America. To me, this seems like a smart move, preparing for the cinematic universe to follow suit. This will be a Captain America like none before, with Sam continuing to fly, and will be accompanied by the new Captain America and the Mighty Avengers (with the new moniker of ‘The People’s Avengers’), with Spider-Man also joining this team! Newsarama have an interview with the writer of this new series, Al Ewing, and artist Luke Ross. An Infinite Comic penned by Dennis Hopeless will see Cap fight the Scarecrow in All-New Captain America: Fear Him!
There’s one reference that Tony Stark wants to start an Avengers / Avengers War, presumably pitting the Avengers against the Mighty Avengers – but why? Well, Iron Man and Hulk are both going to see a very different kind of characterisation; Iron Man’s injection of Extremis into the Hulk is going to result in his brain being repaired, and Stark heads to San Francisco to release Extremis to the world – as we’ll see in Superior Iron Man. As I’ve discussed elsewhere, this is a really interesting attempt to turn ‘Superior’ into a brand where heroes are pushed into dark places, making morally questionable decisions where their own character is the root of many of their problems.
And somehow, in the course of Original Sin, Thor will prove himself unworthy and Mjolnir will be passed to another – to a woman! Angela, now revealed as Thor’s sister, will star in new onging Angela: Asgard’s Assassin.
2015, of course, is the year in which Ultron hits the cinema screen, and so Rick Remender is writing Avengers: Rage of Ultron! This in-continuity OGN continues the successful ongoing range. In the same vein, fans of Vision are going to see this character move front-and-centre, with a lot of development. Also likely to tie in to this, Doctor Strange is gearing up towards a new series.
For Spider-Man, the world is going to turn crazy in Spider-Verse, an arc that brings the omniverse’s spider-men into head-on collision and is already being heavily teased. Antagonist will be Morlun, the Ancient who feeds on the Totemic power of beings such as the spiders, and who has a deadly pull towards our reality’s newly-revealed arachnid, Silk! This will be supported by a range of miniseries, including Spider-Verse Team-Up, which will spin directly out of the main story. As Christos Gage puts it:
“This series exists because there simply wasn’t room in Amazing Spider-Man to explore all the combinations we felt had so much potential.”
In the same vein, the Edge of Spider-Verse series will see every issue featuring a different Spider from a different universe. The idea is to flesh out characters and tie the issues in to the main event. And incidentally, MC2 Spider-Girl appears in Amazing Spider-Man #8! Oh, and a strike-team of clones assembles in Scarlet Spiders!
Don’t miss the mobile game Spider-Man Unlimited, coming in October!