In a string of whirlwind announcements this week, Marvel revealed that three of its principle characters would be undergoing major creative shifts in the coming months, with Thor being replaced by a new Goddess of Thunder, Falcon, Captain America's longtime partner, taking up his shield, and Iron Man moving to San Francisco under a new "Superior" descriptor. Today, Marvel's Editor in Chief Axel Alonso addressed these, and other developments in an interview with IGN.
Saying that the wave of changes wasn't initially planned to coincide, Alonso elaborated, "This came about, not by editorial edict, but because three writers independently came up with ideas for the books and for the characters. We saw an opportunity to strategize to make the time work out in this small window of time. In the case of each, each came about through different circumstances."
Alonso went on to explain that Marvel's ongoing Original Sin event presented a logical opportunity for a sea-change for the current Marvel status quo.
Other new tidbits included confirmation that Sam Wilson's wings will still occasionally be used as Captain America, and that the new female Thor's identity will remain a mystery in her story for some time.
When asked about the mixed fan reaction, Alonso voiced his trust in Marvel's writers, and their willingness to take risks, saying, "I think there's always risk. Whenever you do something controversial, there's always risk. But what you need to do is trust your gut and your writers. Of course, all these writers have to pitch these ideas, and we needed to know where they were headed. But the moment we saw their intentions and got a sense of how they would execute it, let's just say there's no amount of negative reaction we could get from fans that would stop us."
Alonso also dismissed criticism that these changes constituted a short-lived stunt, reminding fans that Bucky took the mantle of Captain America "for years" before Steve Rogers returned.
Moving on from the news about Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America,
Alonso revealed that Marvel has "no exit strategy" for the death of Wolverine, meaning no set plans on when, how, or if they will bring him back from the dead.
Alonso also confided that, regarding the recently teased Avengers NOW! promo image, the inclusion of several of the characters depicted was indeed driven by their upcoming film appearances, or a need to bring those characters into a higher profile in the Marvel Universe.
Alonso summed up Marvel's message to fans regarding the sweeping changes to its line with this message; "You know, we're not afraid to shake things up. We're not afraid to twist things around. All of these stories are risky, but we're taking the risk because the writers have great stories to tell, and you'll want to be around to see them unfold."