As Avengers continues to own the box office, Marvel plans for the future

Marvel’s Avengers has and currently holds a domestic ticket sales record of $299,143,000 ($832,443,000 worldwide), according to boxofficemojo. It has broken several records including best weekend release and Fastest to $250 million mark. All that said, what’s next?

Iron Man 3 (directed by Shane Black of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) is on the fast track for next Summer when it will battle Superman: The Man of Steel and Star Trek 2. Sequels to both Captain America and Thor are on the way, and rumors of another Hulk movie (third? second? first?? who knows!) are becoming more solid.

Marvel’s President of Production Kevin Feige had a few things to say in a recent interview with CHUD.

Via 411Mania:

On The Hulk in The Avengers: “I think Joss [Whedon, writer-director ofAvengers] is much more eloquent about this than I am, but Hulk is seemingly more suited for an ensemble piece were he can be the loose canon, the unpredictable bad boy. You can’t get the same kind of moments necessarily when its a stand-alone movie and everything is on [Bruce Banner’s] shoulders. Joss just said this earlier today: Bruce Banner spends all his time saying, “I don’t want to turn into the Hulk, I don’t want Hulk to come out.” But the audience wants the exact opposite! Obviously that is part of the nature of Bruce Banner and that is a part of The Avengers, but he has evolved to a point that he wouldn’t have been able to if we hadn’t taken him through The Incredible Hulk. Now we find him a little more at peace with it all. And it’s not until he meets Tony Stark and is exposed to the other heroes of the Avengers that he is willing to go for it – in that moment that we won’t spoil here.”

Captain America faces a resurrected and brainwashed Bucky AKA the Winter Soldier

On Avengers 2 and Captain America 2: “If we do an Avengers 2 it will be after [Iron Man 3, Thor 2, Captain America 2]. They have to grow, they have to change. What they’ve gone through in this movie will impact their state of mind and where they stand in their next movies. Then whatever they go through in those movies is going to affect where we meet them in the next Avengers film. But I think people will be surprised to see, as we go forward – particularly in Iron Man 3 – the notion of how singular the stories can become. Iron Man 3 is a very singular Tony Stark story. As is Thor 2.

Cap, who is stuck in the modern day with no friends or family, there will be some revelations of who is still alive from his days in WWII, but SHIELD and Nick Fury are kind of his confidants right now. So of all these movies, Captain America 2 will be most closely associated with Avengers.”

Currently details are scarce about the next Captain America film, but sadly director Joe Johnston will not be returning, which I feel is a major mistake. Directors George Nolfi of The Adjustment Bureau and Anthony and Joseph Russo of the hit TV sitcom Community are rumored replacements, but nothing official has been stated yet. The movie does have a release date of 4 April, 2014 and a returning pair of screenwriters Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus who promise plenty of flashbacks to the 1940’s as Steve Rogers struggles to find his place in the modern world.

Chris Evans as Captain America and Sebastian Stan as Bucky

Of course readers may recall that Johnston had planned to continue his story by having Bucky survive his fall in the first film only to be revived by the KGB and brainwashed into the perfect assassin, the Winter Soldier. Bucky would be cryogenicly frozen in between missions so that he aged slowly and was easy to control. But when he goes rogue in contemporary NYC, he encounters his old friend Steve and things get crazy from there (at least that’s how it played out in the comics).

A new director could mean that Johnston’s ideas are out the window, but the hint of ‘revelations of who is still alive from his days in WWII’ could support the Winter Soldier storyline.

Captain America has fought werewolves, terrorists and giant robots, so the sky is the limit as far as potential story ideas. It is nice to know that Johnston had an eye on the Brubaker comics as they are very appealing to a modern audience in my opinion.

What is more mysterious is the prospect of more Hulk movies.

The Ang Lee film in 2003 was deemed a disaster though it grossed $132.2 million in domestic sales. I still quite like it but it might be a bit too ‘modern’ for most and I can appreciate that. The second attempt in 2008 directed by Louis Leterrier was a more commercial friendly film yet it too is regarded by most as a flop (at over $134 million we should all be such failures!), and a sequel deteriorated as Marvel decided there would be no more Hulk films despite the obvious hints at the development of Leader when Samuel Sterns became the victim of gamma-radiation.

After the resounding reception that the jade giant has received in the Avengers and the six picture deal that actor Mark Ruffalo has signed, it is safe to say that Marvel has turned heel on that notion and a motion picture is back on track.

I’m not sure what is on Marvel’s mind, but one thing that we are unlikely to see is the military versus Hulk, something that Feige and co had grown weary of. I’m hoping that a more action-oriented yet thoughtful and entertaining compromise can be found as this character deserves another shot at the big screen.

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