he Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of the most ambitious film franchises put together by a studio, and perhaps the best thing about it is how every move made within it continues to build and add toward something bigger and better. With each new story we learn more and more about the world behind the silver screen, and we are always left with a perfect mix of satisfaction and want for more. Because of the intricate details of the comic book world, anything is possible, and it’s great fun to speculate about the implications of every twist, turn and maneuver as they lead to Marvel Studios’ second big landmark film: The Avengers: Age of Ultron
The mega blockbuster is now nearly here as Phase II films like Shane Black’s Iron Man 3
, Alan Taylor’s Thor: The Dark World
, Joe and Anthony Russo’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier
, and James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy
have all found their respective ways into theaters over the last two years. Obviously they all have a huge impact on the future of the MCU, but what do we know so far and how will it lead to next summer’s big movie? What is the latest development with all of the characters involved? Read on below as I break it all down, starting with the AMAZING new trailer!
And who is responsible for all of this goodness?
oss Whedon Joss Whedon is the only non-fictional person/being who gets his own section on this list, but that should just stress how important he is to the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and, therefore, The Avengers: Age of Ultron
. In August 2012 it was revealed that the writer/director had signed a three-year deal with Marvel Studios that not only locked him in to both write and direct a sequel to his first massively successful blockbuster, but to serve as a guide for what has been dubbed Phase Two. After months of working on the script, the director is now hard at work putting together the movie, taking his cast and crew to multiple exotic shooting locations around the world. When it comes out in May, Avengers 2
will be entirely Joss Whedon’s vision of what a blockbuster sequel should be.
Tony Stark went through some interesting changes in the end of Iron Man 3
, which should leave him in an interesting place leading up to Avengers 2
. The billionaire playboy philanthropist was shown not only destroying all of his Iron Man suits, but also finally getting the arc reactor out of his chest – suggesting that he was done with the superhero lifestyle. Following the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D., he and Stark Industries entered into the world of private global security, and while this may seem like a good idea, it’s also what leads to the creation of a new supervillain: Ultron (more on him below!) We now know that Tony will be part of Captain America 3
, which should launch the Civil War. But we need to see where he is at the end of Age of Ultron
Just like what Iron Man 3
did for Iron Man, Thor: The Dark World
left its titular hero in an interesting position right before the credits rolled. The end of the film featured the God of Thunder rejecting the throne of Asgard in favor of returning to Earth so that he can be with his love, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). This means that when it comes time for The Avengers to reassemble, Thor won’t even have to travel by wormhole to answer the call – he can just swing his hammer around and fly back to the Avengers Tower in Manhattan . The audience knows that Thor actually left Asgard to be ruled under the iron fist of Loki (Tom Hiddleston), but he probably won’t figure that out until Thor 3
, given that the villainous character won’t be appearing in Avengers 2
Of all the films we’ve seen in Phase Two, Captain America: The Winter Soldier
has had by far the biggest impact on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not only did the eponymous hero have to deal with a horror from his past in the form of The Winter Soldier, S.H.I.E.L.D. turned out to be a massively corrupt institution that had been taken over by HYDRA and subsequently destroyed by our heroes. The movie leaves Cap not only in a future he’s unfamiliar with, but really unable to trust anyone around him. Perhaps his only salvation are his fellow superheroes in the Avengers squad. Things are going to get tougher for The First Avengers as the MCU rolls on. We now know that he'll oppose Tony Stark in Captain America 3
. Will the split begin to form in Age of Ultron
? Look for the growing conflict.
While Bruce Banner/Hulk didn’t get his own solo movie during Phase Two – despite being the standout of Joss Whedon’s The Avengers
- he’s coming back in a big way in 2015. Star Mark Ruffalo has confirmed that he will have an expanded role in The Avengers: Age of Ultron
, though any exact specifics as to what that means right now is unknown. As shown in the post-credits sequence of Iron Man 3
, Bruce has gotten close with Tony Stark, so perhaps the two of them have continued to work together. Excited as we are to see more of the character, the latest trailer painted The Hulk as being in a very bad place, shown stumbling throw a snowy forest weak and tired and doing battle with Iron Man’s Hulkbuster armor after transforming into the big, green guy. Things will get bad before they get better for Dr. Banner.
is a fantastic ensemble film in that it gives proper time to just about all of its characters, but if there was one actor who was given the short end of the stick it was Jeremy Renner. The star has publically expressed how disappointed he was with his part in Whedon’s film, having spent most of the time as a zombie serving under Loki > But the writer/director has promised big things for Hawkeye in the sequel. It has been confirmed multiple times that Hawkeye will have an expanded role in The Avengers: The Age of Ultron
and actually interacting with the other members of the team. The film will also hopefully fill us in on exactly where Hawkeye was during the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. in Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Unlike her fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Hawkeye, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow actually got more than a few moments to shine during Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, even without her own solo film. The character was partnered up with Captain America through almost the entirety of The Winter Soldier
, and in addition to showing off a few more of her awesome martial arts moves, the film also opened up some very interesting doors for the character. Captain America 2
ended with Black Widow’s entire personal history going public, meaning that everybody is going to know that the Avengers includes a Russian-born and trained former assassin. One can imagine that might cause a few trust issues between her and the citizens of the world she’s trying to protect.
While Joss Whedon has promised that Black Widow will play a fairly important role in Avengers 2
, the actress did her part to throw the production some curveballs by getting pregnant a few months before the start of shooting. Fortunately, the schedule was able to be shifted so that Johansson could film all of her scenes just as cameras started rolling. Her role in Avengers 2
won’t be diminished as a result.
Ever since the mid-credits sequence of The Avengers we’ve been assuming that the Mad Titan known as Thanos was going to be the superhero team’s next biggest foe, but it turns out that it will instead be the nearly indestructible, ridiculously intelligent robot Ultron. And that nearly indestructible, ridiculously intelligent robot will be played by none other than James Spader.
The version of the character we see on the big screen won’t be a carbon copy of the villain we know from the comics, as Whedon has confirmed that the movie won’t be introducing Hank Pym (Ultron’s original inventor) to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and that Ultron’s powers will be slightly dampened. Instead, as alluded to earlier in the article, he will be created by Tony Stark in an attempt to make the world safe without superheroes. Unfortunately, Ultron sees all of human existence as being fundamentally flawed, and believes that the only cure is extinction. This is not the kind of mentality you want from a foe who has the ability to constantly upgrade himself into new and better forms. Also, as the trailer confirmed, there are no strings on Ultron anymore.
Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver
The Avengers: Age of Ultron will be bringing a few new names into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and perhaps the most notable are the twins Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. Joss Whedon first teased the "brother sister act" at the premiere of Iron Man 3, and now we know that Aaron Taylor-Johnson will be playing the speedster while Elizabeth Olsen has landed the role of the hex-casting superhuman. Due to rights issues caught up with 20th Century Fox, Marvel Studios can’t officially call Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver "Mutants" (or mention their relationship to their father, Magneto) so one big question that remains surrounding them is how exactly they have their powers. Their appearance in the post-credits scene of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, however, suggests that they could be called "miracles." At this stage we’re not entirely sure how Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver get hooked up with the rest of the Avengers, but we wouldn’t be surprised if there is a jailbreak involved.