Heard any Marvel movie news lately?1 of 14If you’re a comic book or superhero movie fan and you’re on the Internet, it’s kind of hard right now to get away from stories about Marvel Studios' unprecedented event Tuesday afternoon.
It looks like Marvel deliberately set out to top Warner Bros.’ news cycle win of two weeks ago, and it's hard to argue they didn’t succeed.
So if you’re looking for some relief from the ubiquitous follow-up to Marvel’s event here... ummm no. Sorry to disappoint you.
We've already made our prediction about who will be cast as Captain Marvel, but after that we let the news sink in for a few more hours we put together a few additional words on what stood out to us about Marvel’s Internet-bending event.
Here are 12 (does everything have to be 10?) observations, questions, predictions and just random thoughts on the fallout of Marvel Day 2014.
Inhumans Among Us2 of 14Kevin Feige said fans will find out where the Inhumans fit into the MCU “sooner than you think.”
“Soon" is the when, but what about the "where?"
Strange alien writing … a blue alien in secret storage … Skye’s questionable ‘heritage. ‘
If you’re reading this soon after publication, "where" might be right in front of you on the TV show you just finished watching.
Hasn't Seen it?3 of 14Speaking of short comments by Feige - this could be reading too much into something, but when asked the Marvel Studios' President and Executive Producer of every MCU film said he hasn't seen Big Hero 6, a major Disney animated film based on a Marvel Comic book property ... the first major Disney animated film based on a Marvel Comic book property.
Heck, three people who write for Newsarama have seen Big Hero 6 by now.
Listen, the guy is without a doubt one of the busiest men in Hollywood, and rumors of frosty relations between Marvel and Disney are exactly and only that, as demonstrated by Disney publicly thanking the creators and Marvel CCO Joe Quesada at NYCC for their help. That said, it does seem somewhat odd Feige hasn't found time to see this film 11 days before its U.S. release and 4 days after it's already been released in other parts of the world (Russia) and his throwaway admission won't do anything to put the rumors to rest.
Will a 2016 Marvel Mystery Movie Vanish As Well?4 of 14Marvel announces its movies with an eye towards anticipation, eeking out details in dollops to keep fans tuned in for the latest development. In the past few years it’s announced releases dates for untitled mystery films, and with the October 28 announcement at L.A.’s El Capitan Theatre, we now know all of those movies – except one.
Back in June 2013 Marvel announced they would be releasing a film on July 8, 2016 – just two months after what we now know will be Captain America: Civil War. When the rumors about Doctor Strange’s director and leading man began coalescing earlier this year, it was widely assumed by fans (and some reporters) that it would take this July 8, 2016 slot, but that speculation has proved false as today Marvel announced Doctor Strange would appear later that year.
So what does that mean – could there be another movie to be announced? While it’s certainly possible Marvel could attempt to covertly film a movie and sneak it to release ala Cloverfield several years ago, a more balanced perspective might simply be that Marvel planned another movie to fill this role but the schedule didn’t add up. Instead of shifting the date back in a sign of weakness, perhaps they avoided it all together.
So July 8, 2016 – there may or May not be a Marvel movie in theatres for you to see. Stay tuned, but expect someone to claim the date sooner than later.
CHA-CHING!5 of 14Estimating conservatively (perhaps very), and including next year's Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man, Marvel announced about a $10 BILLION to $12 BILLION dollars worth of global box office today.
And we're not even counting the toys, shirts, DVD/Blu-Ray Sales, etc., etc.
Just Who is Fighting the Civil War?6 of 14The comic book Civil War featured what wound up being a nationwide, then worldwide battle and tens, if not hundreds of superpowered characters. Right now, the movie has three.
Assuming Black Panther keeps his Wakandan roots, that does bring in some “outside the US” elements. But who else might be involved? Black Widow and Falcon, after prominent roles in Winter Soldier are fairly good bets. Hawkeye is another possibility, and after Feige’s continued teases, maybe even a little Hulk action.
Ultimately though, it seems the real struggle here will be between Cap and Iron Man, with Black Panther somehow pulled in the middle.
Oh, and what about the Winter Soldier? At the end of his titular movie, Bucky Barnes was seeming to remember who he was, and exploring his past. If the focus on the next Captain America movie is on this superhero civil war, how does Bucky fit in? A trump card that Cap uses in the third act could certainly be interesting…
Too Dark For Lunchboxes?7 of 14That all said, we can't help thinking there's something odd ... and even dark ... about the promised themes of Captain America 3: Civil War, where iconic, "good guy" heroes will be battling each other on the big screen. It was one thing when the Batman/Superman movie got a "versus" in its title as it was the classic “first meeting” premise of meet, fight, then team-up, but now established friends in the Marvel Universe are going to turn on each other.
In the comics, we've been desensitized to heroes changing sides and "going rogue" and fighting each other almost every time they team up.
But look out your window this weekend and notice how many kids are dressed as their favorite superhero for Halloween. When kids are carrying Iron Man and Captain America backpacks every day to school, is it a problem that they're going to see their favorite heroes try to kill each other?
End of an Era?8 of 14We were already told by Robert Downey Jr. that he wouldn't be starring in any more Iron Man movies, but now we get word that the next Thor film will be called Ragnarok.
In Norse mythology, Ragnarok is the story of the end of Asgard, and the death of Norse gods like Thor, Odin and Loki. Feige told reporters today that, in the context of the film, Ragnarok means "the end of all things." And he said it was a "key film" of what Marvel is calling "Phase 3."
Now, we don't want to make the Tom Hiddleston fans on Tumblr too upset, but Marvel didn't announce a Loki film (despite the character's popularity), and they didn't mention him showing up in any other movies.
Even if Loki and Thor don't actually die in Ragnarok, the title seems to be indicating that something will finish. And with no Iron Man or Hulk or Thor or Captain America movies on the horizon beyond Ragnarok that we know of (and lots of new heroes getting movies instead), we have to wonder: are the actors demanding too much money to take their stories beyond three movies? Are the actors getting too old? Or is it just a matter of the consequences in the Avengers movies being too far-reaching for solo movies in the midst of them?
Three Strikes9 of 14A trilogy is a powerful grouping that’s become the norm for a variety of films from science fiction to fantasy and even to comics-based movies like Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy or Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. While some franchises have exceeded that three movie rule (such as Superman and the X-Men), it’s a common number to end on and, from our limited perspective, it looks to be the number Marvel sees for its solo stars – and that could be because of the people who play them, as we mentioned earlier.
While Marvel could someday roll out a fourth Iron Man or follow-up the announced third installments of Captain America and Thor, they doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to do a fourth installment of a solo movie.
Although Marvel is renowned to keep budgets as lean as possible, getting the actors who get famous with the movies to stay around costs money – reportedly $40 million, for instance, for Robert Downey Jr. to be part of Captain America; Civil War. While Marvel movies on average make ten times that in just one territory, we imagine those kinds of paychecks would be a bitter pill to swallow for future sequels – especially as they would expand with every movie.
Sure, they could replace Downey as Iron Man – either with another actor as Tony or another character taking up the Iron Man armor (remember, it’s been done in comics), on the other hand Marvel has a litany other characters in its library it could dust off to avoid any re-casting backlash and hire younger actors at a lower rate.
At least for now, it seems that 3 is the magic number.
In Marvel We Trust?10 of 14Marvel Studios has always shown a lot of confidence in their movies, going way back to putting up the feature film rights to their characters as collateral for a half-billion funding deal. That confidence remained in evidence with today’s announcements, as Feige announced big-budget features for Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Captain Marvel and The Inhumans — all of which have, at best, inconsistent track records when it comes to selling comics. Deflecting or defusing questions he couldn’t answer, Feige is basically saying “Trust us.” And with Marvel’s track record, it’s hard not to.
Marvel’s showmanship, its positive attitude toward its work and its openness to fans stand in stark contrast to the suit-and-tie goings on at Warner Bros., for which exploiting DC properties to be something execs feel they have to do instead of want to do. Plus, Marvel’s successfully hit on multiple successful tones and styles that somehow all hang together as a fun brand, while Warner Bros. has struggled with anything that steps outside Christopher Nolan’s bleak and realistic take on Batman.
There is significant risk for Marvel in announcing this many movies. No one’s track record is perfect and success is always relative — meaning some of these films will underperform in some way that will make it easy for fans or critics to label them as failures. Plus, there’s always the risk of superhero glut — anyone who was around comics in the first half of the 1990s can tell you how quickly superheroes can go from king of the hill to the verge of extinction. With two of Hollywood’s biggest studios investing so much in the genre, a collapse or change in taste of any kind could have huge consequences for the future of the movie business.
Panther’s Prowl11 of 14Talk about a Black Panther movie goes as far back as 1992 when a pre-Blade Wesley Snipes expressed interest, but that’s all been hope and speculation until today when Marvel announced its movie coming November 3, 2017 – and that the character would debut before that in Captain America; Civil War. And while the Black Panther’s debut is still a few years today, Marvel has been quietly seeding his debut for years --- if you take time to look.
In Iron Man 2 when Nick Fury unveiled the global footprint of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the territories on its watchlist, a familiar area of Africa is pinpointed that director Jon Favreau later confirmed in the movie’s Blu-ray commentary as related to Black Panther, meaning… Wakanda.
Another easter egg for fans of the Panther came in the 1940s scenes of Captain America: The First Avenger. In that, Howard Stark – the father of Tony Stark, aka Iron Man – gave Cap a shield made out of vibranium. In comics there are other sources for vibranium besides Wakanda, but those are few and far between and this connection mimics the larger connection Cap and Black Panther had back in the 1940s.
A third potential tie to the Black Panther mythos is shrouded in rumor and mystery at this point, but we’ll tell you nonetheless. Andy Serkis has a role in 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, and some people suspect the noted character actor is playing Ulysses Klaw – one of Black Panther’s most formidable adversaries.
Kissing Cousins12 of 14It’s hard not to see the family resemblance in Marvel Studios’ handling of their long-tail movie slate and how all of Marvel Comics’ “events” seem to bleed into another.
No sooner did Avengers and X-Men: Axis begin than Secret Wars was announced. The “next big thing” always seem to be trumped by the “next bigger thing” before the current "big thing" even ends.
It’s hard to argue with the success of Marvel’s even-driven sales model but it’s equally hard to acknowledge Marvel Comics events often end anti-climatically.
Similarly, no sooner did the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer leak a week early than Marvel Studios said “hey, think Age of Ultron is big, just wait until you see Civil War and the two-part Infinity War.”
Now no one thought Ultron was going to win or anything, we all know how the movie will end roughly. But Marvel Studios is already upping the ante on a movie that doesn’t even open for six months – a movie some think could make a run at the top box office earner of all time.
Infinity War Part II Will REALLY Be a Crossover...13 of 14Marvel didn't come out and say so, but the Guardians of the Galaxy will have to be present for at least the 2019 second half of the Avengers: Infinity War two-parter. And why? Basic storytelling structure, which Marvel Studios knows a thing or two about. (also, they DID appear in the “recap” video ahead of the announcement)
Thanos appeared in and played a key role in Guardians of the Galaxy (he's essentially responsible for Gamora and Drax's existence and/or reason for being), and the Infinity Stones were the McGuffin that brought the team together. Thanos' fate (i.e. ultimate defeat) and the resolution of the Infinity Stones storyline cannot happen off-screen for the Guardians. And It can't be revealed through exposition in an eventual Guardians of the Galaxy 3. The team has to be present to help defeat Thanos and when the threat of the Infinity Stones is ended.
So unless Infinity War part 2 continues in Guardians 3 (and that may be a bit much even for Marvel) then cash this check right now – when all hope seems lost at the end of Infinity War part 1 and the Earth and the Avengers looks like they'll fall to Thanos, expect the Guardians to arrive like the cavalry in part 2 and for the teams to join forces to win the day. Heck, with Captain Marvel's movie being between the two parts, she could even be the reason the Guardians jump into the fray.
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