**WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS AVENGERS MOVIE SPOILERS**
So now that The Avengers have assembled and saved the world from an alien invasion whilst simultaneously racking up $200.3 million dollars in its first three days of release the logical question is “what’s next?” Marvel already has sequels lined up for the big three, which will begin what many have dubbed “Phase 2.” These sequels will all focus squarely on each character and will not feature the other Avengers. “Phase 2″ will consist of:
Iron Man 3, which is scheduled to begin filming later this month and will be released on May 3, 2013. It is being written/directed by Shane Black and will be heavily influenced by the Warren Ellis story arc “Extremis.” The movie is being co-produced in China and leads many to believe that Iron Man will finally face off against his greatest villain The Mandarin.
Thor 2, scheduled for a November 15, 2013 release date. Filming begins later this summer and this time around Alan Taylor (best-known for his work on Game of Thrones) will be directing. Not much is known yet about the story but Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige recently said in an interview that Thor 2 will pick up where the first film left off in terms of Jane Foster and Thor, as well as what’s been going on in the nine realms now that the Asgardians are unable to use the Bifrost. Loki will appear in the sequel but a new villain will be introduced. Could this new villain be someone that was introduced in The Avengers? I’m getting ahead of myself, so let me come back to that one in a bit.
Captain America 2 has already set a release date of April 4, 2014 but no director or story have been announced. Most likely it will follow Steve Rogers as he tries to find his way in this new world that he finds himself in.
Marvel has also announced that they will release a movie on May 16th, 2014 but they have not yet announced what that movie will be. Some are speculating that the mystery movie could be Edgar Wright’s long in development Ant-Man. Just yesterday in fact, Wright posted a tweet that refers to Ant-Man. With Edgar Wright’s previous flicks Shaun of The Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, he has already shown that he knows what to deliver the goods that we geeks so direly love. Henry Pym, the alter-ego of Ant-Man was referenced in Thor as the friend that Dr. Selvig e-mails that had previous “experience” with S.H.I.E.L.D., though his name was cut from the scene.
Now that the cosmic universe has been introduced into the Marvel movie universe with the alien race Chitauri in The Avengers, the sky is no longer the limit. Marvel now has the option of further exploring their cosmic characters if they so choose, and it would appear that they have indeed chosen to explore them. Kevin Feige has already confirmed that movies featuring The Guardians of The Galaxy and The Inhumans are currently in development.
I think that an Inhumans movie would be the perfect place to further explore the Chitauri, who are also known as the Skrulls in the comics. The Inhumans, the result of genetic experimentation by another alien race known as the Kree during their war with the Skrulls/Chitauri, have fought the Skrulls/Chitauri on numerous occasions in the comics so it would seem like a perfect fit for the Chitauri to be the villains in The Inhumans movie.
The other movie in development is The Guardians of The Galaxy, who are basically the cosmic equivalent to The Avengers. This film could help further establish the cosmic universe in the Marvel movies and could even lay the seeds for The Avengers 2, which the groundwork has already begun to be laid out as is evident by the post-credit scene featuring ***SPOILER ALERT*** “The Mad Titan” himself Thanos!
For those of you out there (after this weekend I doubt there will be many of you) unfamiliar with Thanos, he is one of the greatest threats that the entire Marvel Universe has ever faced. Thanos is essentially a god-like presence and he has quite the knack for causing death and destruction, which he does for the love of Death, whose love he tries to prove himself worthy of (she takes the form of a female-like Grim Reaper when she appears), hence the “courting death” line during the post-credit scene. He is not just a threat to Earth but the entire universe.
The Guardians of The Galaxy flick could further explore this and lead directly into The Avengers 2 or Thanos could also be the new villain that Kevin Feige was referring to for Thor 2 but I hope not. Just think of how awesome it would be for The Guardians to figure out Thanos’s plan at the end of their own movie, and realize that they must warn “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” of his plan. Avengers 2 could start similar to AVX and show Nova crashing on Earth and warning The Avengers that “he’s coming…” just before he passes out. That would be a pretty awesome start to the sequel.
But just what might be Thanos’s plan, you might be asking yourself? Well, the answer is simple… he wants The Infinity Gauntlet! Previously introduced in Thor as an easter egg in Odin’s treasure room, The Infinity Gauntlet contains six gems known as the Infinity Gems (or Soul Gems) and when all six gems are brought together give it’s wielder the power over power, mind, space, reality, time, and the soul. An object containing that much power in the hands of Thanos would surely spell doom and it would make for a pretty epic battle between Thanos and The Avengers. In order for Thanos to get the Infinity Gauntlet he would have to fight his way into Odin’s treasure room on Asgard to obtain it. That in itself would make for one bad-ass action scene between Thor, the entirety of Asgard and Thanos (and actually could make conceivable content for Thor 2).
Marvel has proven this weekend that anything is possible in their movies and that not just the sky is the limit. While this article has been half fact and half pure speculation, I know one thing is for sure. Whatever else Marvel releases from here on I am immensely looking forward to it! To quote the great Stan Lee himself, “Excelsior!”