With the popularity of the most recent Avengers movie, Marvel has moved on to its next set of superhero movies. The set includes sequels to released movies as well as a few newcomers. Marvel will feature Iron Man 3 (set for release on May 3, 2013), Thor: The Dark World (November 8, 2013), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April 4, 2014), Guardians of the Galaxy (August 1, 2014), Avengers 2 (May 1, 2015), and Ant Man (November 6, 2015). This article will look into some of the possible storylines of these new movies. However, very little concrete information has been released about the films. Hopefully these previews shed some light on the direction Marvel will be taking for the next three years and possibly farther into the future.
Iron Man 3
Iron Man became the face of the cinematic Marvel universe after the first Iron Man’s widespread popularity. Iron Man became a household name, setting the stage for future Marvel movies. After the disappointing Iron Man 2, a new director, Shane Black, has been hired for the next film. Shane Black and Downey Jr. worked well together in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, a cult classic. Iron Man 3 takes cues from Extremis, a comic book arc written by Warren Ellis, which gives Tony Stark, the man in the Iron Man suit, a living armor embedded in his skin. The Mandarin, played by Ben Kingsley, has been Iron Man’s main nemesis for over 40 years and will be the main villain in the movie. He should prove to be a formidable opponent, especially if the screenwriters keep his comic book origin as a Chinese terrorist who can control the elements with 10 rings of power. Iron Man 3 is looking to be a big hit and should live up to the first movie’s greatness.
Thor: The Dark World
The black sheep of the Marvel movies, Thor has received mixed reactions from filmgoers. Some prefer a relatively low-key movie filled with magical exposition, while others find less action less exciting. The Dark World will hopefully alleviate that split, with a mystical, action-packed, character-driven storyline. Directed by Alan Taylor, known for directing multiple Game of Thrones and Soprano episodes, The Dark World pits Thor against an army of dark, evil elves. The movie is led by Malekith the Accursed, played by Christopher Eccleston of Doctor Who and G.I. Joe fame, who has been a relatively small part of the Marvel comic book universe. In the comics, Malekith tries to steal the Casket of Ancient Winters, an ancient artifact that can release an eternal winter upon Earth. Is this the basis of the plot for the Thor sequel? The title, The Dark World, suggests that, but we will see once November 8th rolls around.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
When Captain America was first created back in the forties, he had a sidekick named Bucky Barnes who tragically died saving the Captain, Steve Rogers, from death. The first Captain America movie saw Bucky supposedly falling to his death, and the sequel will most likely touch on that. Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, best known for their directing work on Arrested Development, Community, and Happy Endings, the film will pit the time-displaced hero Captain America, played by Chris Evans, against the Winter Soldier. Played by Sebastian Stan, the Winter Soldier is a brain-washed Russian assassin who just happens to be Bucky, long thought to be dead. The Falcon, Captain America’s most recent partner, will also make an appearance. Written by the former Captain America writer who created the Winter Soldier, Ed Brubaker, Captain America: The Winter Soldier looks to bring Rogers’s past crashing into his present.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Though it was only a small hint, the post-credits scene during The Avengers hinted at a threat to an entity much larger than Earth––a threat on a cosmic scale. What better way to introduce the cosmos in the Marvel cinematic universe than through the Guardians of the Galaxy, who are sometimes referred to as the “Space Avengers.” The Guardians first appeared in the Guardians of the Galaxy comic, written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. The post-credits scene in The Avengers revealed that Thanos, the pawn of death, was behind the invasion of Earth. This suggests that the Guardians of the Galaxy movie will set up Thanos as a cosmic threat, and it will introduce any future alien races that Marvel needs to use in coming movies. In the conceptual art for the film shown at the San Diego Comic Con, the main characters for the film are Peter Quill, AKA Star-Lord (a fighter pilot pulled up into space), Drax the Destroyer (a man killed by Thanos who is brought back to life in order kill Thanos), Gamora (the deadliest woman in the universe), Groot (a sentient tree-like alien who is the king of his planet), and Rocket Raccoon (an anthropomorphic raccoon who is a strategic genius and loves big guns). The only thing confirmed about the movie is that it will be directed by James Gunn.
No one knows much about the highly anticipated Avengers sequel. The fact that the movie will be directed and written again by Joss Whedon only increases the excitement. As the creator and writer of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Angel, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog, and Dollhouse, Whedon has strong qualifications. The film’s villain is rumored to be Thanos, the previously mentioned pawn of death. Thanos has an interesting origin in the comics, dying and falling in love with the embodiment of death, who happens to look like a skeletal woman. He was brought back to life to be an avatar of death, and he looks for a way to die and return to death. While no pre-production has been scheduled, it is expected that the stars of the first Avengers movie will return, and possibly even the actors of the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Falcon.
Even less is known about Ant Man. The public does know that Edgar Wright, director of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Shaun of the Dead, and Hot Fuzz, has signed on to direct. The only other known information about Ant Man is a demo reel Wright filmed and premiered at the San Diego Comic Con, although it was never released to the public. In the comics, Ant Man is biochemist Hank Pym, who manages to discover a group of subatomic particles that he dubs “Pym Particles.” These allow him to shrink or grow his size at will. He also talks to ants. A possible plot line could be the creation of Ultron, an artificial intelligence that Pym creates which goes rogue and threatens the entire world and occasionally the universe. At this point, your guess is as good as mine with Ant Man.