This article is meant to look at the state of the Avenger’s film as of February 2010, it will look at the suspected cast of the film and the early years of the comic in order to theorize what major events fans can expect in this film. It should be known that this is all speculation and many of the conclusions given will probably be changed depending on the success of Marvel, and Superhero films that come before it.The Cast:
Well, Iron Man II
is coming out this summer, the Thor movie is in production, a director has been chosen for Captain America, and Disney has bought Marvel, meaning that we might get a larger budget for one of the biggest crossover films in history.
Okay, right from the start, when Marvel started making their own films (instead of pimping their characters to other major movie studios,) they decided that the films universes would be interlinked to make it have more in common with the comics. We’ve already seen glimpses of this with Nick Fury cameo in Iron Man
, and an Iron Man/Tony Stark cameo in the Incredible Hulk
Man, those were great cameos, even though you know they’re coming, they still reek of awesome.
Okay, Marvel is now putting out all of their initial avengers in their films before they appear in the actual Avenger’s film.Iron Man
(Tony Stark) has two movies out,The Hulk
(Bruce Banner) was remade as a movie to promote Edward Norton’s talents.Thor
(Donald Blake) is coming with an all-star cast. It looks like Marvel is pulling all of the stops for this one.Captain America
(Steve Rogers) is getting his own film with will be a sci-fi World War II period piece.
And that’s the original line up...
Oh wait, no, sorry, I forgot the most important member of the team, Ant-Man
, (Henry Pym) and his superficial wife, the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, (a.k.a. the WASP
, a.k.a. Janet Pym).
Ya, they originally got Edgar Wright from Shaun of the Dead
to direct it the Ant-Man film, but for whatever reason, that doesn’t seem to be getting made before the Avenger’s film. So there will be a good chance that you’ll be introduced to those two essential players there.
A number of other Avengers characters are supposedly going to appear in other films before this one. Scarlett Johansson is playing the Black Widow
(Natasha Romanoff) in the new Iron Man film, and Nick Fury
is being played by Samuel L. Jackson in the Iron Man franchise also.
These are important because it’s unlikely studios can/will afford to pay the actors for the original Avenger’s line up for a series of team up films and Marvel will start to make replacements to the core cast.
While the initial team is made up of Iron Man, Hulk, Ant-Man, Wasp, and Thor, Hulk leaves the team almost immediately and Captain America replaces him. After a few adventures, everyone except the Captain leaves and is replaced by a darker, weaker, and less known team. This team consists of Cap, the Scarlet Witch
(Wanda Maximoff) and her brother Quicksilver
(Pietro Maximoff), and Hawkeye
(Clint Barton). Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are known as supporting characters in the X-Men, since their father is Magneto, the main villain of the franchise, so they’ll probably be out of the picture because of copyright issues. Hawkeye is the archer, and one of the constant members of the group, so he’ll be in the movie. The Black Widow briefly joins the team in the comics, so she’s a possible replacement in the team too.
So those are your core cast members. But you might wonder what Nick Fury is doing on that list, since he had almost nothing to do with the Avengers and was never officially one himself. Well, that comes from what is in our next part...Source Material:The Classic Avengers:
(As from stories in The Avengers
, issues #1-20)
The avengers are a popular group that have been re-envisioned over the years. They were first made as Marvel’s answer to DC’s Justice League, where all of the main heroes team up and be heroic in one monthly book.
The original run of the Avengers
(written by Stan Lee
and drawn by Jack Kirby
) is pretty tame compared to other Marvel titles at the time. Few of the stories ever became defining for any of the characters, there was no huge world altering events that happened which weren’t undone by the end of the issue. Overall, it was pretty forgettable until the sixteenth issue, when the original line up calls it quits and takes an extended leave, only to be replaced by a bunch of ex-criminals who are led by Captain America.
Even before this happened though, the title made a few firsts that should be worth mentioning:
-The Avengers took turns being the group leader
-They constantly quarrelled, unlike their DC counterparts
-People left the team because of misunderstandings
-A fight with no villains, just misunderstood heroes
-The Avenger’s have their own fan club, led by Rick Jones, who was the Hulk’s friend and became Captain America’s protege for a bit.
-Tony Stark donates a mansion as the Avenger’s base
-It was here were Captain America returned to the Marvel Universe
-Captain America is revealed to have a huge guilt complex for his father’s death and is almost non-functional in the new era he woke up in
-There were continuing character arcs, like Cap’s quest for vengeance
-The Avenger’s never actually work as a tactical team, they just fight together for the sheer power it gives them
-Cap watches an ex-Nazi die, because the guy killed his wartime partner
-Ant-Man becomes Giant Man
-The WASP is shot and almost dies in the line of duty
-It was revealed that the trickster god Loki’s actions were the cause of the team’s creation
-Kang the conqueror, a warlord from the future, first appears and later becomes one of the Avengers’ greatest foesEarth’s Mightiest Heroes
(As from Avengers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes
Many of these elements were shown in a mini-series entitled Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. It’s a retelling of the Avenger’s early stories that adds Hawkeye in as a constant observer from the very start. It cuts out a lot of the duller or cornier moments of the series, and updates it so that it takes place in the early 2000's. While it skips the Avenger’s origin story, leaving out Loki
and the fight that caused the Hulk to leave, it adds a few new elements that strengthen the early years of the Avenger’s mythos. These details include:
-The Avengers getting public backlash for supporting the Hulk
-Tony’s problems with Thor, as Tony is an atheist and working with a God goes against what he believes in
-Hawkeye’s interest in the Avengers before he joins the team
-Ant-Man’s insecurities of his place on the team
-The Avenger’s start to work more as a team
-Thor is targeted by the Christian right for being a false god
-Jarvis, the Avenger’s butler, is revealed to have known Hawkeye before he tries out to be an Avenger
-The government is not supporting the group and feels threatened by a Superhero team
-The team is usually right on the brink of breaking up
Okay, those two stories were really the only ones about the early Avenger’s days worth knowing until a drastic re-imagining of the team came out calledThe Ultimates
(As from The Ultimates
Written by Mark Miller, who is known from writing Wanted
, and Kick Ass
, the Ultimates
is a darker, less fantastical reboot on how the Avengers would work in a society closer to our own. Some of the main main plots are the same, like the original line up, (although Cap is on the team from the very beginning.) The way Captain America was found is also true to the original story, but the similarities stop there.
In this version, S.H.I.E.L.D.
Nick Fury’s group, own the team and is run by the Bush government, the base is located on an artificial island in NY harbour. The team was originally made to hunt down mutant terrorists, and any Super human threats. The people of America hate the team, because it is wasting so much money, but change there mind after the Hulk destroys half of NY.
All the characters have severe mental issues and most wouldn’t be considered heroes by old comic book standards. With that said, there are a few huge changes that are made which are worth noting:
-Nick Fury leads the team
-Nick Fury is Black, the Wasp is Asian
-Captain America is the clear leader on the front lines
-The Hulk is a mass murderer who isn’t afraid to eat people, and is pure testosterone
-The role of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch is minimized
-The Black Widow plays a much lager role on the team
-Loki has nothing to do with bringing the team together
-Bruce Banner and Henry Pym are both clearly mad scientists
-Henry Pym is mentally disturbed, into building robots, and severely beats his wife
-The Pyms are much younger than their earlier versions, and the rest of the team
-Iron Man has a tumour
-Hulk is created by the Super Soldier serum gone wrong
-Captain America is almost as strong as the Hulk
-Captain America is an old right winger
-Nick Fury is clearly a villain
-Everyone’s identity is known from the start
-Thor isn’t as powerful and might just be an escaped mental patient
-Jarvis the Butler is gay
-The Wasp is a mutant and has powers right at the start of the series
-Hawkeye wears glasses but can kill with anything he throws (much like Bullseye)
This one is so radically different that would wouldn’t think it was worth bringing up, but for anyone under the age of 28, this is the version of the Avenger’s they’ll probably know.The Ultimate Avengers
There is a DVD that takes the Ultimates
storyline, throws some aliens into and lightens up the material so younger kids can watch it. Besides the alien invasion, the main difference to continuity is that Nick Fury and the Black Widow are in the field with the Ultimates from the start.What Won’t Happen:
There are a lot of things in the early Avenger’s that would never have worked well off of the paper. There are also a number of ideas that can’t be done because of what has happened in the films that were already released. Because of copyright, some major characters will be left out, because of audience viewing habits at the moment, a darker version of the Avenger’s will work better. So what can we expect to be left out of the film:
-The Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, because of legal reasons
-Rick Jones, because he was just there to calm the Hulk down and become Captain America’s sidekick.
-Jarvis the Butler, since he was a computer in the Iron Man movie,
-Iron Man’s tumour
-Any villain other than Loki and Hulk, (and possible Kang)
-Captain America’s revenge arc,
-Hawkeye’s criminal background,
-The Avenger’s mansion
-Tony Stark’s Sickness
-The Hulk’s murders
-Kang (because outside of Fantastic Four Rise of the Silver Surfer, no Marvel Movie has dealt with a full scale invasion yet, Marvel won’t want to use that plot just yet.)
What Has to Happen:
Marvel studios aren’t stupid, they know what the fans want and what will get the average movie goer into the seats. There are a few things that are unavoidable in the first Avenger’s movie, since if these elements are missing, fans will destroy the movie.
-The Avengers must form a team
-They have to take down the Hulk
-Captain America has to be revived
-Tony and Thor must bond as friends
-A larger threat emerges that everyone works together to take down.
-The replacements are set up by the end of the movieWhat Should Happen:
There are a lot of little details that could be added in by clever writers, and other that should be added in to give some interesting sub-plots before the final climax hits.
-Bruce Banner should be in the movie, not just the Hulk
-There should be some buildup of the avengers before the first major attack
-Nick Fury should be chewing people out for whatever
-A charter should be signed
-There should be a falling out between a few of the characters,
-Loki should be involved (even if he’s disguised the whole movie)
-There should be no clear main character,
-We should get cameo’s from supporting cast members in other Marvel films.
-Ant-Man should grow to Giant Man during the film.
-Hank Pym gets inspired by Iron Man’s designs.
-They should get a lot of initial backlash from the public and the press.
-The Wasp should get critically wounded, but recover
-The Hulk escapes by the end of the filmPredictions to What the Finished Product Will Contain:
Once the project is finished, it will be the most hyped film of the year, that most people will have slightly less than realistic expectations of, it’ll probably be just over two hours in length, and give each of their characters two or three scenes to shine. Chances are that Robert Downey Jr. will get top billing in the film as Iron Man, and be the character the script keeps coming back to. Loki probably will be in the film, even if he’s disguised the whole way through and only revealed after the credits. The size of his role will depend on how the Thor movie does. Taking down the Hulk and reviving Captain America are two essential plot points for this film, so they’re guaranteed to be in it. This film won’t have many villains, you won’t see villains from the Hulk and Iron Man movies pop up, since the cast will already be too large, you’ll just see extremely overpowered foes. Critically, this film will be the hit of the summer, but not as praised as the first Iron Man film. Ant-Man and the Wasp will be in the film, but they’ll be overshadowed by the larger heroes. (Pun intended.) There’s a good chance that many will see this as a missed opportunity.
Even though it will have a self contained story, the film will probably not stand well on it’s own and act just to interconnect the Marvel franchises further. Despite having impossible job of trying to please everyone, this film will probably be worth checking out and earns it’s place on fan’s DVD shelves.