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exclusive news

Exclusive: Assembling the Avengers -- Part 2

Posted by msunyata on Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Avenger nerds, (re)assemble!  Rob Keyes, editor at Screen Rant, Patrick Sauriol, the editor-in-chief of Coming Attractions, and Brant Fowler, the chief operating officer of Comic Related, continue their conversation with freelancer Marc N. Kleinhenz about the vitality of ScarJo’s Black Widow, the likelihood of a second Incredible Hulk installment, and, of course, the best order to watch the first five Marvel Studios movies in.

Catch up on the first part of our Avengers movie roundtable here!
 

Marc N. Kleinhenz:

Okay, forgive me – what shenanigans did Ed Norton play during Hulk's press tour?

Patrick Sauriol (Coming Attractions):

Word is that he didn’t want to do press for it, depending on who you believe, because he didn’t get co-writing credit on the movie or a nod for helping with editing.  At the time, the circumstantial evidence pointing to Universal not being happy with Norton was a lack of cover stories about the movie, and Norton’s lack of interviews for the film (he did do some and attended the premiere, but the lightness of his press presence was noticed).  There’s lots of articles about it from two to three years ago on the net.

Brant Fowler (Comic Related):

Interesting.  I heard it was a money thing and Marvel Studios had called Norton out publicly.  Though none of us will probably get the unadulterated truth, I'm sure it's a little bit of both sides that caused the problems.

The Avengers, Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk.

Marc N. Kleinhenz:

Well, if I were him, I wouldn't want to take credit for the writing.  ;)

Patrick already essentially answered this, but I'm going to ask the rest of you:  what would you like to see 2014's mystery movie be?  Personally, I'm hoping for Black Widow, which is a persistent rumor, or – much preferably – The Incredible Hulk 2.  I actually think that, after reintroducing the character in a new setting (i.e., not on the run from government forces) with a new actor after a considerable chunk of time, the odds are good for picking up that story.  And they should – after having literally every other Marvel Cinematic Universe character now getting a sequel greenlighted, I'd hate to see the big green guy (no pun intended) be the only one to have a solitary outing.  Just please get a new director for the project.  =)

And if it is something different, like the Ant-Man project Pat just referenced, I just hope to God they tie it into the ongoing franchise.  No more isolated Spider-Man reboots, please.

Brant Fowler (Comic Related):

I'd take credit for it – it was great!  ;)

Hmm.  I'm not too keen on Black Widow as a solo story, to be honest, and I absolutely hate the idea of Ant-Man anywhere near the big screen – just to toss that out there.  I'd love to see another Hulk film, but only if it's as good as the Norton flick.  I don't think that's in the cards, though.  I would love to see a Runaways film based on the first volume of that series, if nothing else.  But as far as main Marvel characters go, that's tough.  All the big boys have already been featured, and therefore I think it'll be a harder sell for some of the second- or third-tier characters.  And since they can't dip into X-Men or Spider-Man territory, it becomes a bit tricky.  I'd be afraid of a cosmic Marvel story, but if they could pull it off, it would be really cool to see.  I'm just not sure they could match something like Annihilation-level storytelling set in the world they've created.

I guess, thinking of tying into these films, and back-peddling just a tad, maybe using both Black Widow and Hawkeye in some SHIELD movie might make sense.  I'm still not sure that would do well or be well-received, or even have an interesting enough story.  You'd have to have them in some black-ops against some major threat to make that work.  Aside from that, I'd love to see the original Thunderbolts or New Warriors, but both, having ties to the Avengers in a way, would be introduced way too early to make sense.  As standalones, perhaps, but again you're talking selling a general audience on lesser-known characters.  So I'm kind of at a loss.

And to reference your Spider-Man comment, Marc, the reason for that and the continuing X-Men films is because those rights are still with other studios, sadly.  Marvel may have some say in the way it's done, but not in whether it's done.  They are money-makers for the studios, so they'll keep making them.  While I did really like the first two Spidey films and the first two X-Men films, as well as First Class, surprisingly, I would have loved to see what Marvel Studios could have done with those franchises on their own.

 

Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury in The Avengers movie.

Rob Keyes (Screen Rant):

Ah, now we're getting into my wheelhouse.

Shameless Plug 1
Shameless Plug 2

The second 2014 Marvel release is not going to be a Black Widow or Hawkeye movie, and I'm happy it won't be.  I've not seen The Avengers yet, but Black Widow was weak in Iron Man 2, and I don't think ScarJo can lead a big-budget summer action movie on her own.

However, she could certainly play a prominent role if she had some support from, let's say... SHIELD!

The more and more I cover Marvel Studios's plans, it seems more and more likely that SHIELD will be getting their own film, possibly to serve as a lead-in to The Avengers 2.  With an Avengers sequel likely coming in 2015, the second main summer slot in 2014 must serve as an intro in some capacity, much like Captain America: The First Avenger did for the first Avengers last year.

Just like Renner dropped word about being Hawkeye in Thor two years before it happened, Sam L. has not been shy about talking about a SHIELD movie over the last two years, and with how they serve as the core behind The Avengers and will likely again in Captain America 2, it's the best way to give more screen time to Black Widow and Hawkeye while the main heroes all get follow-up solo films.

As for The Incredible Hulk, it's unlikely to ever get a sequel, even if Ruffalo turns out to be fan-favorite this summer.  They've already tried two actors, and neither time were they able to get huge box office numbers.  Ruffalo isn't going to change that.  Hulk's just not as interesting on his own, unfortunately, and by the end of this summer, fans will have seen a lot of the character – not to mention, there's still a live-action TV series in the works for him.

From what Feige said and from what Edgar Wright told us, there's a possibility Marvel Studios may – for the first time ever – offer three theatrical releases in one year, and it depends on footage Wright is supposed to shoot for Marvel in the near future (Feige says to keep an eye on Wright's Twitter).  If so, expect Ant-Man possibly in the fall of 2014 and as a character in The Avengers 2.

Runaways won't happen anytime soon.  Due to resources, Marvel halted that project, moving Drew Pearce to Iron Man 3 with good reason.  With all of the talk from Marvel execs about the bigger cosmic universe, if we're going to get something outside of the norm, it's possible that The Avengers serves as a launch pad for things like Guardians of the Galaxy, but that's a risky proposition at this point until we see more and gauge the response to The Avengers.

Brant Fowler (Comic Related):

I just want to add real quick in response to what you said, Rob, that I don't think it's a general lack of interest in Hulk that hurt the second film.  I think it was the first film that hurt the second at the box office.  Whether by seeing it or hearing about it, people feared that the second would be more of the same offered in the first, despite the much more accomplished and talented Ed Norton in the role.  That movie should have done better than it did, but that first film killed any chance of that happening, sadly.

Hawkeye and Black Widow in a scene from Marvel's The Avengers movie.

Rob Keyes (Screen Rant):

@ Brant – that's part of it, but what sells a movie is brand, marketing, and word of mouth.  The trailers, word of mouth, and brand didn't sell the second take on Hulk because it's not appealing.  My movie-going pals didn't care to see it versus Iron Man that year based on trailers alone.

Transformers 2 sucked huge, but TF3 did amazing.  Trailers, brand, marketing.

We've seen the Jekyll-and-Hyde thing a million times.  There's a very good reason Hulk/Banner was the one replaceable of the four core characters and why he's the only one of the four without a script or plan in place for a follow-up.  The story he gets in The Avengers is all he'll need until The Avengers 2 or some special appearance, but I can guarantee Disney and Marvel won't spend $150 million on another Hulk solo adventure.

Marc N. Kleinhenz:

Allow me to get really nerdy, if you will, and ask a rather... specific question.

Not too long ago, a buddy and I were debating the best chronology of pre-Avengers films.  Now, obviously, Incredible Hulk was the second movie to release, but given that it takes place after Iron Man 2, and IM2 segues directly into Thor, and Thor, for its part, leads in so nicely to Cap... where's the best place to put it?  He suggested before Cap, given that it presages that movie beautifully with the super-soldier program (and so on and so forth), but I said before Avengers, even though that kinda ruins Cap America's tag.

Any thoughts/suggestions/condemnations?  =)

Rob Keyes (Screen Rant):

Looking at the modern era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (i.e., ignoring Cap's adventures in WWII), Iron Man comes first, followed by Iron Man 2Iron Man 2, of course, overlaps with Thor, and the main part of The Incredible Hulk takes place just after that (although quite a few scenes take place before/during Iron Man 2, as well).  In the grand scheme of things, the bulk of Thor, IM2, and The Incredible Hulk all essentially take place simultaneously.

The tag at the end of Thor, where Fury enlists Dr. Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) by showing him the Cosmic Cube, takes place after all of those films and after Steve Rogers awakens in New York.  Meanwhile, Banner is up north hiding away from the world.

Patrick Sauriol (Coming Attractions):

Well, there now seems to be shaping up two Marvel movie universes:  the Marvel Studios one, which is a meta-universe where overlap exists between several franchises (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Avengers, Hulk) and everyone else (Fox’s X-Men, Sony’s Spider-Man, New Line’s Blade, etc.).

I believe Rob got the sequence right for the Marvel meta-universe.  I doubt very much that Amazing Spider-Man will have any interlocking connectedness to anything else.

Since I’ve always been curious about the business side of things, I wonder how it works out for Hulk to be in The Avengers when the film rights are controlled by Universal.  Obviously, some kind of deal or gentleman’s agreement was reached for Tony Stark to guest appear in the post-credits of Incredible Hulk.  I’d love to ask Kevin Feige if that means Marvel Studios would be open to Fox allowing a guest appearance of an X-Men character in Avengers 2, or some other weird crossover (like Ghost Rider meets Blade or Spidey teams-up with Daredevil).

Tom Hiddleston as Loki in a scene from Marvel's The Avengers movie.

Rob Keyes (Screen Rant):

Just to correct, Marvel Studios/Disney owns the rights to The Incredible Hulk – they got them back in 2006, three years after Ang Lee's Hulk movie.  Universal just helped on the distribution side, but it was Marvel's independent production.

As for Spider-Man, this is fanboy territory, but no, we'll never see Spider-Man, Daredevil, the X-Men, or the Fantastic Four cross over with the Avengers characters until those film licenses revert back to Disney and Marvel Studios.  And that's something Disney wants badly, although I'm not sure how it'll affect production overall.

Would we get 4+ Marvel movies per year if Disney controlled all of the properties?  The reason Avi Arad initially licensed them out to different studios is so that no one studio would halt one series in favor of others, and that's how X-Men, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Blade, Punisher, etc. could all co-exist.

Brant Fowler (Comic Related):

I can't argue with Rob's chronology for the films.  I hadn't really thought about it too deeply before, but what he said makes sense, especially given the extra scenes during the credits.

Patrick, I think we'd all love to see something like a Daredevil/Spider-Man crossover, but Sony and Fox seem to be holding onto the Spider-Man and X-Men franchises quite tightly (not sure about the other studios/properties, but I'd wager the same).  I'm convinced that one of the big reasons for the new Spider-Man film was to hold onto the rights, and the same probably holds true for X-Men: First Class and Wolverine 2, as well as the rumored FF reboot.

I have read other rumors of somehow incorporating mutants into the Avengers franchise with Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver – something about both Fox and Marvel co-owning the rights since they are considered equally X-Men and Avengers, though I don't know how much truth there is to that.  And I'm sure if they were used, there wouldn't be reference to their father [Magneto], or, at least, if there was, it would be very subtle.  Regardless, it will be interesting to see just what they do with the sequel and beyond.

Rob Keyes (Screen Rant):

I don't know the licensing situation for Sony/Columbia and Spider-Man, but I do know that Twentieth Century Fox needs to get Daredevil and Fantastic Four films into production soon or those rights will revert back to Marvel.

It's funny you bring up Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, because they (along with the Skrulls) happen to be rare exceptions to the rule.  Marvel President of Production Kevin Feige actually brought this up last week during the European premiere of The Avengers (titled Avengers Assemble over there) and confirmed that both Marvel Studios and Fox could use them in their respective movies, and that's because of the overlap.

I don't want to delve into spoiler territory, so I'll stop there about how Marvel Studios will handle this issue.

[Marc N. Kleinhenz has written for 18 sites, including IGN, Theme Park Insider, and Westeros.  If you liked his ability to chair a roundtable, be sure to check out It Is Known: An Analysis of Thrones, Vol. I, his recently-released ebook that contains a couple of Game of Thrones discussions with the likes of Time magazine’s James Poniewozik.]

 

MISS PART ONE OF OUR AVENGERS MOVIE ROUNDTABLE? READ IT HERE!
 

Kaeos
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Posted: 8 years 8 weeks ago

"As for The Incredible Hulk, it's unlikely to ever get a sequel, even if Ruffalo turns out to be fan-favorite this summer.  They've already tried two actors, and neither time were they able to get huge box office numbers.  Ruffalo isn't going to change that.  Hulk's just not as interesting on his own, unfortunately, and by the end of this summer, fans will have seen a lot of the character – not to mention, there's still a live-action TV series in the works for him."

I think this one turned out to be way off the mark. I'm hearing that Ruffalo is an absoltue scene stealer and the Hulk's role in this ensemble is supposedly a "break out" performance. I have a feeling we'll be seeing a lot more Hulk this decade.

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