In 2002, right before the release of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man, Stan Lee was quoted in the documentary Stan Lee's Mutants, Monsters and Marvels as saying, "There hasn't been a better time to be a Marvel fan." Ten years later, not much has changed. Here in 2012, we are mere weeks away from the biggest Marvel movie of all time; a movie that 4 years ago was said to be impossible - The Avengers. It's the first film in movie history to feature six different superheroes all in the same film together. It's gotten to the point where director Joss Whedon is giving advice to Warner Bros. on how to approach a "Justice League" movie when they can't even get Green Lantern to work! The Avengers had its world premiere on Wednesday at Disney's El Capitan Theatre. However, the film shown there may not be the film we get in theaters; and this is a good thing.  

At an Avengers press junket, the day following the premiere, star Robert Downey Jr. ended the day by saying they would filming another scene that very night. Downey had effectly stunned the crowd as his character had at the end of Iron Man. Director Whedon and producer Kevin Feige were quick to vehemently deny any such event occuring; however, fellow actors Mark Ruffalo and Chris Hemsworth said that Downey's statements were completely true. Is it possible to add a scene to a film after its premiere? In this day and age of digital prints, absolutely (though it would have be done very quickly). Now, there are supposedly two different endings to the film, one mid-way through the credits and the one that was shot this week as the post-credits scene. Who knows if potential Ant-Man director Edgar Wright was involved? He was at the premiere and said recently that he had just got back behind the camera for the first time since Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Could we see Ant-Man for the first time on screen? Whatever we'll see, I'm very excited to know what will come next from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It just goes to show that Marvel always has a trick up the sleeve to give fans the best possible experience. Remember how you felt when Nick Fury appeared at the end of Iron Man or when Tony Stark talked to General Ross in The Incredible Hulk? Very rarely do franchises have an interactivity among its casts and its storylines and it's extremely exciting to see it happening with the Marvel superheroes.

While Kevin Feige wasn't pleased with Robert Downey Jr., he was more than happy to talk about Tony Stark's next adventure in Shane Black's Iron Man 3 coming next summer. Feige said:

Iron Man 3 is a full-on Tony Stark-centric movie.... [It's] very much inspired by the first half of Iron Man 1.  Metaphorically, we’re not going back to the cave there’s nothing like that, but we’ve always said let’s get Tony back to the cave, which is he’s stripped of everything, he’s backed up against a wall, and he’s gotta use his intelligence to get out of it.  He can’t call Thor, he can’t call Cap, he can’t call Nick Fury, and he can’t look for the Helicarrier in the sky.

Iron Man 3 has Downey reprising his role as the title character, with Gwenyth Paltrow, Don CheadleScarlett Johansson and the recently-announced Ben Kingsley. The film starts production this summer in North Carolina and will be released on May 3, 2013.

The next Marvel film after IM3 is Thor 2, directed by Game of Thrones and Mad Men's Alan Taylor with Chris Hemsworth reprising his title role. Feige says that the film will examine "what's been going on in the nine realms without the Asgardians being able to use the Bifrost". I find it kind of hard to believe that by Thor 2, the Asgardians haven't been able to rebuild the Bifrost Bridge. Maybe what Feige means is that Thor and the Warriors Three are finally able to go and visit the other realms when the Bridge is rebuilt. Certainly the realms will be in chaos without the center of Asgard to bring the peace. 

"Well [Thor's maturity] is sort of the crux of the whole sequel and it’s what Hemsworth is most excited about diving into, and it’s what is the heart of story; it’s Thor and Jane, to continue that dynamic. Really they were only together for three days, and do they love each other? Do they like each other? Do they know each other? We’re acknowledging that that love story in the first movie was sort of a quick crush, essentially, over the course of three quick days in the middle of the desert. And [the heart of the movie is also] the relationship between Thor and Odin, which does change drastically as it did over the course of the first movie, and picks up and continues from there."

Thor 2 is set to star Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony HopkinsNatalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgard and (possibly) Kat Dennings (if she gets a hiatus from 2 Broke Girls). 

Marvel Studios announced last week their newest project, Captain America 2 to be their first film of 2014, with an untitled film yet to be announced officially. Chris Evans will return as the First Avenger, though no other cast members have been announced yet. Joss Whedon had written a scene in The Avengers where Evans returned to his '40s love, Peggy Carter (as played by Haley Atwill) in the present. Whedon didn't reveal how this scene would have been done; with Atwill in makeup/digitally aged or hired another actress entirely. Unlike earlier reports, the film is said to be set entirely in the present day. In talking about the film, Feige said that Cap would get a sidekick (because Bucky was "lost" in Captain America: The First Avenger). Could this be Rick Jones, the Incredible Hulk's comic book-based sidekick? In the very first Avengers comic book, it's actually Rick Jones who summons the Avengers together; Jones meant to call the Fantastic Four, but Loki scrambled his signal to go to Thor, Iron Man, Ant-Man and the Wasp. Cap initially mistakes Jones for Bucky, and his presence reminds Cap of his loss; despite Jones wanting to be Cap's sidekick. Jones has not yet been seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but his name is shown in the opening credits montage of The Incredible Hulk (he is, however, a part of the film's video game). Feige continues:

"The primary storyline takes place post-Avengers, Steve figuring out his place in the world. Tony goes back to Malibu, Thor goes back to Asgard, but there are a number of people who stay in S.H.I.E.L.D. Steve, for the time being, is going to be one of them."

There is no other cast members announced, though Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury is expected. Captain America 2 will be released April 4th, 2014. Jim Hill, a Disney insider, has written that the clause that Paramount has over Disney by having their name over Disney's should end with Captain America 2. From then on, any Marvel character that hasn't had a film adaptation will have their own Walt Disney Pictures film (which makes their $115 million finally pay off). He hints that, by then, the West Coast Disney theme parks could have walk-around Marvel characters. The East Coast parks have a lot more problems to deal with; but deals are secretly being made... 

Nobody makes movies like Marvel. Like it or not, they are an unbelievable filmmaking force in Hollywood. They cast competant actors, hire talented directors and make exceptional films. It only seems to get better and better. What more can I say but, "MAKE MINE MARVEL!"

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