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May 14, 2012

So You’ve Seen THE AVENGERS…What Next? Questions Answered & The Future Predicted by James West

Chances are, you’re one of the millions of people who have seen what is one of (if not the) biggest superhero movies of all time, The Avengers. Based on the original Marvel comic by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, The Avengers captured the essence of the comic book quite well: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes join forces to stop a threat not one of them could take on alone. Chances are, you loved the movie (93% Critical Rating, 96% Audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes), and, chances are, you want more. You might have questions (Just who was that after the credits?), or are interested in an informed comic book geeks opinion on what is going to happen next. You probably don’t, but what the hell, I’m bored. Here’s some  questions answered  and my predictions for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe!

Continue reading after the jump....

******SPOILERS AHEAD******


1-      Who was that guy at the end?
Thanos, the Mad Titan.

2-      Why should I care?
Thanos is one of the “big bads” of the Marvel Universe: he is in love with the physical anthropomorphism of Death (a woman in the Marvel U), and will do anything to please her. This is why he smiles when “The Other” tells him to attack Earth would be to court death.

3-      So why should The Avengers be worried?
Thanos is after something called the Infinity Gauntlet (which has a cameo in Thor). The Infinity Gauntlet collects each Infinity Gem, which each control a different aspect of the universe: Mind (Blue), Reality (Yellow), Power (Red), Space (Purple), Time (Orange), and the most coveted, Soul (Green). Combine them, and you essentially become God.

4-      Who were the founding members of The Avengers in the comic books?
The original founding members were Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk, Ant-Man and the Wasp. Hulk left after issue 2 as he found out his team mates were afraid of him, and their search for the Hulk the team came upon the body of Captain America in issue 4. I have no complaints with the founding members in the movie, since I love Hawkeye and Black Widow, and Ant-Man and the Wasp are a bit difficult to pull off.

5-      What’s the deal with the different Hulk transformations?
The difference in the Hulk transformations is actually the result of some very nuanced character development on the part of Ruffalo and Whedon. At the beginning, the transformation is slow because Banner is fighting it. Once he loses control, the Hulk is a raging beast because Banner lost his temper. It’s comparable to when you or I lose our temper and do or say things we don’t mean, just on a Gamma-irradiated level. By the end of the movie, Banner comes to terms with his other side, and lets it come out (In my favorite scene in the movie), hence why the transformation is quick and Banner is (mostly) in control.

6-      Why doesn’t Thor fly up and save Iron Man?
Simple: Thor can’t fly. He throws his hammer, Mjolnir, and holds on to it. That’s why he always leads with it or does that super cool thing where he whips it around and it makes that noise. He can’t hover, levitate, or anything like that. His flight is more like a rocket. If he had tried to catch Iron Man, the collision probably would have killed Tony.

7-      Where was Spider-Man/Wolverine/Batman/Herp Derp?
Firstly, Spider-Man and Wolverine are not classic Avengers. They only joined recently after the Avengers had split up after Scarlet Witch went psycho. They were part of the New Avengers, which also included Cap, Iron Man, Luke Cage, etc. They recently joined The Avengers when the team reformed, but have even more recently left. Also, Marvel Studios does not have the rights to make a movie with them in it. The rights were optioned out years ago to studios like Fox and Sony. If the studios don’t make a movie with their character in a certain time frame, or the movie bombs (this happened with The Punisher), the rights revert back to Marvel. Judging by the success of the X-Men and Spider-Man franchises, unfortunately, I don’t see this happening soon. Batman/Superman/anyone with them are owned by DC comics. Different company. Herp.

8-      So, if they’re not gonna be in the next slew of Marvel movies, then who?
Well, great question, and it’s an even greater segue to my last segment…


So, what next? Here are my official predictions for the future of Marvel’s movies. We should have more confirmations about these around San Diego Comic-Con
Iron Man 3 (May 2013)
Thor 2 (November 2013)
Captain America 2 (May 2014)

Iron Man 3 looks like it is to take place in China. With the casting of Ben Kingsley as the villain, this screams “Mandarin” to me (aka Iron Man’s archenemy whom we haven’t seen yet). The villain's been alluded to (Terrorists in the first movie are 'The Ten Rings'), but we haven’t seen him yet. I look forward to seeing if they bring him to the screen, and how. I believe it’s been confirmed that Black Widow will be returning, and I assume Banner will have a cameo or small role (maybe Hulk? Time will tell, could go either way).  It also seems they will be doing the critically acclaimed 'Extremis' story arc, where Tony’s suit literally becomes a part of him. If they do Mandarin, since his “magic” is actually technology from outer space, Thanos could easily be reference or brought in for another post-credits sequence.

As for Thor 2, I know nothing. I heard Surtur may be the villain. He’s a big fire demon sorta. I predict Loki will appear, though as a supporting character and not the main villain. Ideally I would like to see Enchantress and Skurge the Executioner, but, we shall see.

Kevin Feige, the producer/mastermind behind all these films has said that while Iron Man 3/Thor 2 will be very singular, Cap 2 will be closely related to the Avengers. My guess is that the plot involves a vibranium mine found in Wakanda, home of top-tier Avenger and the very first African-American superhero, the Black Panther. I think he will be an addition to the Avengers cast in the second film, which I will get to later.

Unannounced Predictions:
Dr. Strange
The Incredible Hulk 2
Guardians of the Galaxy

When I say unannounced, I mean that a release date/definite production has not heavily started, as Dr. Strange, Ant-Man, and SHIELD rumors have all been abuzz. The particular slate seems difficult to do, then again, that was said about the previous movies as well. Apparently there is going to be 5 films before Avengers 2. Three of them will be the Iron Man/Thor/Cap sequels. I think you can put money on the other two being from this group.

Dr. Strange is not very related to The Avengers, and is more often just an ally as opposed to an actual member. However, there’s more to Marvel than The Avengers: and perhaps they’d like to show that with a movie about the Sorcerer Supreme. They haven’t really had a movie about magic yet (Thor is science that seems like magic), so it would be an interesting step. My concern is that, if it’s not connected to the Avengers, would people be interested in it, and if it is connected, can they afford squeezing the Doctor into the next movie without explicitly making him a member. Or, would they disregard comics and just make him a member anyway. It seems very difficult.

Ant-Man/The Wasp is a different story. The problem there does not lie with how they would fit into the universe. The two are founding Avengers in the comic books and add to the group dynamic. Hank Pym is a favorite of mine because his characteristically low self esteem makes him very compelling. Despite this low opinion of himself, he has the courage to get out there with the rest of the team. The Wasp is the level headed love interest to counter him. She’s a strong female character and one of the first female superheroes Marvel’s had, and has even served as de facto leader of The Avengers from time to time. The two could easily be introduced as SHIELD scientists, I would have no problem with that. Problem is…their powers. It might be hard to translate shrinking/growing powers to the screen in a way that doesn’t seem goofy. Looks awesome in the comics, but it could be a different story for a movie. Edgar Wright is slated to direct the Ant-Man movie, so if he played it up for comedy it could work. There was talk of half the movie being about Eric O’Grady, a disrespectful, funny character who takes the mantle of Ant-Man, but I don’t see that fitting in with the way Marvel has been doing the movies pretty by the books (and rightfully so). If they do bring in the Pyms, I imagine Avengers 2 would involve Hank perfecting the Giant-Man formula, while the Ant-Man/Wasp movie sticking strictly to shrinking.

A SHIELD movie is very compelling. They could go the prequel route, and have the main characters of Black Widow, Hawkeye, Nick Fury, Maria Hill, and Agent Coulson dealing with something in Budapest (as was alluded to in The Avengers). This would develop the characters further, but, being a prequel, wouldn’t do much for the overarching plot. If they set it in the time frame of the other movies, then Coulson wouldn’t be in it (or would he be…more later!). However, then they could develop the story AND the characters further (I love me some Hawkeye, but his next role should be larger).

Incredible Hulk 2 is based purely on the large reaction the audience has had to Ruffalo and the Hulk in The Avengers. They pretty much finally got it right, with Ruffalo being soft spoken and relatable, portraying the guilt and rage of having the Hulk in his head, and the Hulk being the perfect personification of a rage beastly monster. The movie could also tie up what is so far the only loose end in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), which is The Leader getting his powers at the end of The Incredible Hulk.

The Guardians of the Galaxy: Star Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Adam Warlock, Gamora, Cosmo, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Moondragon, Bug, Jack Flagg, Vance Astro, Phyla-Vell. If you’re gonna have Thanos…you’re gonna have The Guardians there to fight him. They obviously can’t have the full roster: my guess is maximum 5 or 6. Plus, they could introduce Adam Warlock in Thor 2 (He did fight Thor before he went to outer space in the comics) so the audience would have some familiarity. Who knows? Maybe the post credits sequences for the next few films will involve the Guardians. Plus, Kevin Feige (the producer) said he wants to make a Guardians movie (as well as an Inhumans movie, but Guardians correlate more with Thanos).

As for The Avengers 2? Since Thanos is after the Infinity Gauntlet, I’m guessing the Infinity Gems are going to be alluded to over the next slate of movies. Avengers 2 would involve the gems, the gauntlet, and a whole lot of cool cosmic stuff. Maybe we’ll even get the Chitauri’s other name (Skrulls) and their mortal enemies (The Kree…and maybe the hero from their race, Captain Marvel?).

So that’s it for movies. To close this all off, here are my top three guesses for new additions to the Avengers roster for the sequel.
1-      Black Panther: I think this one’s a no brainer. First black superhero, top tier Avenger, awesome looking costume…he might get some “Batman” jokes but I think we’re going to be seeing the King of Wakanda without a doubt.

2-      Ant-Man/The Wasp: You can’t really have one without the other, and given the importance these two have to the Avengers mythos, I can’t really see them being left out for much longer either.

3-      Ms. Marvel: Who? Well…it’s a long story. I’m being lazy but check her out on Wikipedia. The way she gets her powers totally checks out with the cosmic route they seem to be taking, and she’s a fan favorite.

Runner-up- The Vision: There have been talks of making Agent Coulson into the Vision. It wouldn’t necessarily fit in with the comic books, but…hey, I think it might work. Clark Gregg would have made an excellent Vision had he never been Coulson in the first place. Plus, Gregg recently retweeted a fan who asked, “If someone lost their good eye, can they have good Vision someday?” Very. Intriguing.


  1. Great follow-up, boss! I was patiently awaiting your thoughts after the film finally made it to theaters...with a (monetary) bang! It's great to read a well-skooled comic geeks reaction. I had a few thoughts on what you said based on complete ignorance to the comic world. (I basically only read G.I. Joe as a kid...but, also the whole 'Infinity Gauntlet' series because it was very easy for me to jump into without any prior Marvel U. knowledge.) .......

  2. ...I had a similar thought to agent Caulson's return in a 'heroic' manner and I was patiently awaiting ideas on who he might return as. I think he would look great as 'The Vision' but, could someone give me a little backstory on the character? What's the Vision's deal? Where'd he come from...what's his comic alias like (if any)?

    Last I heard, I think it's already "full speed ahead" with the Ant man film...with Wright at the helm and Simon Pegg cast (if the last rumors I heard were correct) I'm pretty sure Pegg would be perfect in that role of a hero with low self- esteem and he tackled his 'Star Trek' role pretty successfully after all of his more hokey roles. Last I read Eva Langoria was in some pretty secretive talks with the Marvel film big-wigs and I think your idea of making a the film include BOTH than transition them into the next Avengers film would be perfect. Neither actor/character would have to carry the whole film on their own...and that would be perfect for me!

    I'd love a black Panther film but, I'm not sure Marvel will be brave enough to put him out there in his own film without some major heat coming off of a cameo in other Avenger solo projects. Same with Dr. Strange. Lat rumor I heard was that they'd tackle these character in some sort of 'shorts' before the next bunch of Avengers films but, they haven't done that at all yet with the prior films so I can't see that happening anytime soon.

  3. 'The Infinity Gauntlet' would be perfect to tackle with the next set of films....or maybe it could come to a head by the the 3rd Avengers film and 3rd Thor/Cap films. The subject matter might be pretty huge to get out there and than tie-up before the close of Angers 2. And how the hell could they top THAT come Avengers 3?! 'Civil War'series, maybe?

    Can you clear up once and for all what the deal was with Nick Fury? In the original comics he was part of the 'Howlin Commados' that was Captain America's back up team in the Captain America film. I thought for sure the black dude in the crew was a young Nick Fury. Now I'm hearing it was not!? Steve Rogers didn't seem as friendly with Samuel L. Jackson's character as I had hoped & when Fury told Cap that SHIELD had been experimenting with the super soldier project after the success with Rogers, that was enough for me to be OK with a Fury/Super Soldier origin keeping him youthful. any case, I'm really glad you corroborated that that was, indeed, Thanos at the end of the film. Some pretty geeky comic nerds had some other predictions on who that was...but, I stuck to my 'Thanos' guess and it warms the heart when it seems I can follow along with the best of you nerds with only limited comic knowledge.

  4. ...Also. I'm paraphrasing Marvel's Feige when I say that I think he and Marvel agree that the reason Bruce Banner/Hulk character FINALLY worked so well was because he was part of an ensemble team cast this time and didn't have to hold the film on his own. That the Hulk was a tough character to pull off when the story always calls for Banner to FIGHT becoming the big green monster when that's all the audience wants to see of him. Although Rufalo just signed a 6 picture deal with them, I can't imagine any of those being solo projects. Your idea of him being included in on an Iron Man project and/or one of the other solo projects seems like the best idea. I don't think Marvel will risk pinning the success of this whole series on another potential Hulk flop. But you never know.

  5. Jeff, your comments are great, but i have to clear something up. I did not write the above column, James 'The Comic Book Kid' West did. He is much more plugged in than any of us, so I usually listen to him... I can't take credit for this awesome article.

    Vision was a robot. Created by the villain Ultron, who in turn was created by Hank 'Antman/Giant Man' Pym. I think James was alluding to bring back Caulson as Vision in a cyborg fashion. That would be great.

    Also, in comics Fury is part of the Howlin' Commandos as well the leader of Shiled. In the movie, Derek Luke portrayed Nick Fury's father. I think this is for the realism issue... it was easier to make Tony Strak & Nick Fury's dads into the 1940s than to try an explain how Fury is not 90+ in the current Avengers universe.

    Hulk was the BEST part of the Avengers. I hope he gets another shot at a solo joint. We shall see.

    1. Argh....OK. In all the excitement I didn't see your young ward, James West's name at the top! I read the whole article in YOUR voice. I hate when that happens!

      Thanks for clearing up The Nick Fury bit. That's basically what I was told.

      The Vision seems like a tough tie in now. A bit more of a reach. Do YOU have any ideas how to bring Caulson back otherwise Mike? Should he even return seeing as how his death was kind of the tie that finally bound the Avengers together? The audience seemed to take to his characters role and the loss pretty highly.

    2. Mr. West...feel free to respond to any of the comments I made above.

      Sorry...didn't see this came from you at first. Great job!!

  6. Jeff,

    Caulson did not die. He was stabbed by Loki. He was bleeding out on the floor. He was taking his last gasps of air. But did you SEE HIM DIE? I certainly didn't. Throw in the fact that Maria Hill calls out Fury on embellishing the 'Caulson carrying around Caps cards' and it all leads me to believe that we will see Caulson again.

    Now as far as him maybe being The Vision, I think this would be Marvel trying to 'Keep things more based in reality'. Making Vision a cyborg, with some of Agent Caulson's memories and body parts, would be Marvel's way of not having to justify a completely robotic character. But that is just my guess. He may just come back as a regular old fashion Shield agent, with a wink wink to the fact that we thought he died but never actually SAW him die (an age old comic book device).

  7. Here I come to save the day! I think a new Hulk movie is unlikely as well. Frankly I think the character works best as part of a team. I've heard rumors of a new Hulk movie though, so that's why I threw it in. I don't think it's necessarily unlikely he'll get his own new movie, but I would put precedence over the other films. It seems like they finally "got" the character, so a new movie would probably be much better than the previous ones (Though I still say The Incredible Hulk is underrated).

    I don't think Black Panther would get his own movie either, I think he'll be introduced in Cap 2 and they'll run with it from there. As for Strange, it would be a tough sell, but I think they can pull it off. There's also a TV show coming out, called AKA Jessica Jones, which could possibly star Luke Cage and Iron Fist and is definitely taking place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So, perhaps, that's where Strange would be.

    The Vision is pretty much the Spock of the team. He's cold, emotionless, calculating, but secretly has human emotion bottled up inside of him. It's kinda like Spock inspired Vision who in turn inspired Data. Coulson already has this sort of no-nonsense, dry demeanor as is. Plus, in the comics, Vision is a combination of the body and brainwaves of two dead superheroes (The Original Human Torch, who was an android, and Wonder Man) so basing the movie Vision off of dead Coulson wouldn't be too much of a stretch from the comics, really. Much like how in the comics Hawkeye was a villain before he joined the Avengers, and his story in the movie kinda mirrored that.

    Nick Fury doesn't seem to have his Howling Commandos background in these films. They had to make some changes, and while I might not love them all, they were all pretty necessary and doesn't detract from the movie.

    Thanks for your comments Jeff! And thanks for throwin' this up Mike!

  8. Mr. Mike D. this is a great post. You're right the Hulk was great.

  9. 83 clicks yesterday alone. The world requires more incite from James West!