This is more of a confirmation than news, but because I’m an obsessed nerd, you all get to read about it anyway, so cram it.
Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios, was interviewed for the next issue of SFX magazine and had a good bit to say about the future of The Avengers, as well as its members. He mentions that they’re introducing some new characters in Iron Man 2 (like Scarlett Johanssen’s Black Widow, who we’re collectively hoping won’t be a travesty), and that
… it’s not about just cramming in lots of new people; that’s sort of the cardinal sin of the sequel — adding in too many characters. This is totally Tony Stark’s story. And that’s gonna weave into Thor’s story, and Steve Rogers’ story, and it’s already ingrained with Nick Fury’s story and an organization known as S.H.I.E.L.D.”
But the real money quote is this one:
“My only concern is that when we launch a franchise — whichever character’s franchise that may be — it should stand on its own two feet … So by the time ‘The Avengers’ comes in 2012, it’s not just a team superhero movie with a bunch of characters with powers. It’s three people — four including the Hulk; five including Nick Fury — who you’ve seen before in other movies, coming together for the very first time.”
This is outstanding news for two reasons: 1) it re-affirms Marvel’s commitment to not make the same mistakes made in X-Men III — too many characters, abandoning character histories, etc (or let Fox Studios get even near it, or let Ratner direct, or, you know, just general all-purpose sucking). It reaffirms their intention to give a full history to each major character with their own feature movie, building up the universe to reflect how each hero interacts with the world, and show how the world interacts with them. There is also a wee hint that there will be other members — Captain America is a virtual must, and I suppose Black Widow isn’t a bad guess either.
And, it includes the Hulk. I confess, I was sort of nervous about that (and still am). I find myself surprisingly fond of Edward Norton’s Bruce Banner, and was hoping he’d make it into the film (although after an allegedly difficult time shooting The Incredible Hulk, there’s no guarantee he would reclaim the role). The future of the Hulk as a franchise is a little less solid — Feige said later that “That would be post-‘Avengers,’ if it happened … I think there’s a chance. It’s certainly our intention to use the same actors from film to film where we can.”
(h/t to Superherohype)