Back in 2000, Artisan Entertainment made a deal with Marvel. A deal that would bring Deadpool to the big screen. For the next 16 years, Deadpool received setback after setback. Until July 2014. During Comic-con 2014, test footage for what a Deadpool movie could look like was released. The rest was history.
As of this writing, Deadpool has made 745+ million dollars worldwide at the box office and is the 2nd highest grossing R-rated film ever. Needless to say, Deadpool is a hit. 745+ million dollars is an impressive amount of money to begin with. This is made all the more impressive when you realize the obstacles in it’s way.
First, it was made on a 58 million dollar budget. Which is basically pocket change compared to most superhero films, including solo-hero films. Second, it’s rated R. Since R films have a smaller audience to draw from, they just don’t have the potential profit pools other films do. Third and final, the character itself is both relatively unheard of by larger audiences and deeply loved by comic book fans everywhere.
These three things that stood in it’s way, are also the things that made it successful in truth. Coincidentally, they are also the things that Hollywood will get wrong. Superhero movies these days are made with huge budgets. Ant-man the previous solo-entry for superhero had a 130 million dollar budget. Iron-man was made with a 140 million dollar budget. Man of Steel had a 225 million dollar budget. This doesn’t even account the big team up films which are at least 220 million dollars, if not potentially double that.
It’s pretty easy to see why a small budget could hamper a film. For Deadpool, I believe it helped. The last time Deadpool showed up in a film, he was outright hated by fans. So this time around it was important they got the core/heart of the character right. If they had a bigger budget, the filmmakers could have gotten away with a weaker script. Hell, the last Transformers movie made over a billion dollars. Which I think we can all agree had a pretty weak script. It’s already a proven fact that explosions are universal. No translation required. Hence, a bigger international audience to pool from.
However, since the Deadpool crew had a smaller budget, they needed a good script. They needed the humor to be right, the story to make sense, and to make the right people happy. The fact they were able to go R-rated let them make Deadpool right. He’s a violent mercenary who is called the merc with the mouth that’s constantly running. While you could do a PG-13 version, like many upset parents wanted, it simply would not be as good. It might still be kind of chuckle funny but again, since you’re already dealing with a smaller budget you need every advantage you can get.
One advantage, and arguably the biggest, is the fans. If your word-of-mouth is negative, people won’t go see your movie. I know, ground-breaking, right? So now, you have to please a fanbase that is known to be pretty picky about their superhero flicks and, are still cautious after the last time they saw a movie version of Deadpool. Thankfully, the team behind Deadpool pulled it off. They made an original movie for the fans of the character. This, right here, is what Hollywood is going to get wrong.
Hollywood exec’s will look at Deadpool‘s success and try to copy it. In fact, it’s already started. Batman v Superman will have an R-rated directors cut. Wolverine 3 is rumored to now be R-rated and who know’s what else we’ll see pop-up. What Hollywood is missing is the fact Deadpool was made for Deadpool fans. They had an impressive understanding of why people like Deadpool and then made that movie. They didn’t try to alter Deadpool audiences, nor tone it down, or simplify the humor. No, the filmmakers made a Deadpool movie for Deadpool fans. It just so happens the best version of Deadpool is a R-rated films.
Since Deadpool was so faithful to it’s fanbase, Deadpool was then carried and supported by it. Since the fans loved it so much, they went at told their non/semi-fan friends. After seeing it, they recognized how different and just all around good the movie was and then told their friends. Thus the circle continues. What Deadpool ultimately teaches us is that movies can’t be made on an assembly line. Well, technically movies could, they’re just generally not going to be very good.
Instead of studios making films that have the fans in mind. We will get a few Deadpool copycats with other films simply changing beloved characters or properties to fit a broader, more general audience. This also doesn’t take into account the amazingly on-point marketing strategy Deadpool had.
So if you haven’t heard, Avengers: Age of Ultron is coming out May 1st. If this is news to you I would first like to welcome you to the internet. To put this simply, at the time of this writing there are 11 clips, 11 TV spots, 3 full length trailers, and frankly I’m not entirely sure if I got them all. The amount of footage currently out is staggering. I’m not even counting the associated branded materials. Basically, there is a lot of information out there. Now, I have never had to market a film so I understand that my knowledge of the industry comes secondhand. However, I have been working in marketing for 3 years and I hope to one day work within the film industry. So if you’re from a film studio and reading this just, send me an email. All this to say I have some insight based on my feelings as one of the consumers of this marketing barrage.
As a Marvel fanatic, this amount of marketing material is both exciting and terrifying. I am divided between wanting to know as much as I can and keeping some of the mystery. Here is where I’ll begin. There is such a thing as over marketing. I’m sure you’ve had it happen. Sitting there watching TV and you see the same commercial at least twice while your watching one show. It gets pretty irritating. Imagine that but with each commercial it spoils the current show just a little more. How frustrating would that be?
When the first Avengers came out, it had about 3 trailers and a couple of TV spots. Each one shared similar footage and still kept the mystery with any new footage they added. That movie, which had much less marketing involved, made just over $1.5 billion dollars. So far, Age of Ultron is set to beat that and it’s not because Marvel has been marketing out the wazoo. It’s going to be successful because for 3 years, Marvel has been building up to this movie. That is their biggest marketing ploy. It’s the whole benefit of having a cinematic universe, your movies become your marketing. The best representation is to look at the first trailer for each. At the time of this writing, the first Avengers trailer has just over 23 million views after 3 years. In comparison, the first Age of Ultron trailer has just over 72 million views in just about 7 months. Are you starting to understand the level of hype attached to this movie?
This is the point I’m getting at. Since each movie builds towards one big pay off, you don’t need to assault your potential audience. Just carry on as usual. In fact, in many ways it would be better to leave them clamoring for more. Giving them just the tiniest details that would encourage them to find out more. This barrage of marketing materials, which we have only covered the video for, is unnecessary for such a well-known property. This supported by the fact that the two major follow up trailers for Age of Ultron didn’t even crack half of the views the first one did. Now for a movie like Guardians of the Galaxy it was understandable. That group had to be introduced. The Avengers don’t. What would be better is to rely more heavily on niche marketing.
Since Marvel has such an outspoken fan base, or niche, I’m surprised they don’t leverage that more. You see, Marvel keeps a very tight lid on their goings on. The only thing’s that are ever really given that aren’t leaks are vague mentions of goings on. Instead, Marvel needs to embrace the leaks. For now lets call it espionage marketing. Strategically leaking information that will stoke the fire of their niche market. When ever there is a leak, geeks and geek sites everywhere dissect the information till there is nothing left. Figuratively building mountains out of mole hills to come to wild speculative junctures. What I would do is take some concept art or set photos and leak them along the way fairly early on. Making it look as if there is some kind of ‘mole’ within Marvel. You could even go as far as posting under a fake username on Reddit or other social sites with strong fandoms.
The best part, the materials you leak could be absolutely fake. When Age of Ultron was first announced, the majority of geeks assumed Ant-man, as the original creator of Ultron, would appear in the movie. Debates raged on since Ant-man was set to release after Age of Ultron. So what would it take to add fuel to this fire? Two thoughts come to mind, have some fake concept art drawn up of Ant-man meeting with the other Avengers or having Paul Rudd show up on set. With the concept art, take a photo with someones phone as if they were trying to hide the fact that they were taking the photo. Post it on Reddit or have them anonymously send it to some geek site. Then just sit back and watch. Redditors and readers will undoubtedly pick up on it to begin building their mountains. I would bet that this gives you at least a month of free buzz as people start to argue back and forth. Plus, it gives material to build upon or reference down the road.
With the set visit, you would follow a very similar process. The difference is hoping that someone scouting out the shooting location would spot Paul Rudd and spread the information themselves. Otherwise, take the photos yourself and spread them. For the cost of a plane ticket you could get a substantial amount of buzz. Hell, if you want to step out of the cloak and dagger of it all just tell Paul Rudd he’s going to visit the set. Then let him take some photos hanging out with the cast and have him post them. Much like Mark Ruffalo did a year ago. Those tweets Mark sent out were then picked up by geeks and news sites and then talked about. A very cheap way to create buzz.
I know that Marvel has all the money they want to throw at marketing. Just because they do, doesn’t mean they should. In case you didn’t read this and just skipped to the bottom. Let me summarize it for you. Sometimes you need Hulk marketing where you just throw everything you have and hope it sticks. Other times it’s better to take a Black Widow approach, precise, coordinated, and calculated for maximum impact. Especially when your franchise is already an unstoppable Hulk.
If you haven’t heard, the first of five Marvel Netflix series is premiering tomorrow. Daredevil is a blind lawyer by day and a blind vigilante by night. There have been a lot of details that have emerged leading up to the release. Reveals such as what Daredevil’s red costume will look like, some connections with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., as well as a slew of trailers and promotional materials that will set the tone for the film. However, there are still a few things that I hope to see.
It has already been revealed that the Netflix Daredevil series will be rated TV-MA and much more brutal than past Marvel projects. What I want though, is to see Daredevil’s true brutality come out. Daredevil fights criminals, not maniacs dressed up in colorful costumes but stone cold killers. This is no better represented by the Kingpin. A mob boss who is truly ruthless in everything he does. What this means is that Daredevil will need to match that intensity. The promotional materials seems to point to this. One of the trailers has Matt Murdock (Daredevil’s real name) going to confessional, asking forgiveness for what he’s about to do. It seems a big theme will be the difference between heroes and villains, especially when they seem to use similar actions to achieve different goals.
Beyond the actual tone of the character, I hope we see plenty of references to the more street-level characters. These would be the other Netflix series AKA Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. I’m not expecting full on cameos since the casting for these others was confirmed after production. However, passing mentions related to these characters is all that is needed. What would be amazing is some references to Spider-man. Again, to my knowledge the production of Daredevil was largely finished by the time of the Spider-man announcement. With some post-production add-ins, such as some background radio broadcasts or something would be plenty. Why I’m pushing so hard for this is because Daredevil is a street-level hero walking among the people of New York. When you have regular people gaining extraordinary powers so far reserved for gods and billionaires, gossips spreads.
The other character that I think needs to get referenced or even a guest appearance is The Punisher. Mostly because The Punisher is a dark character is as anti-hero as you can get. Instead of arresting criminals, he prefers to just outright kill them. This isn’t mentioning the fact that his origin story starts off with his family being murdered by the mob. What I would love to see is make the mob the Kingpin’s organization and we see Frank Castle (The Punisher) coming to Matt Murdock for help. When he fails Frank, Frank becomes The Punisher or tries to take matters into his own hands. This might be a long shot since The Punisher has apparently already appeared in The Winter Soldier. Yes it is played off as a joke but depending on exactly when Daredevil takes place, that cameo could be more true than we thought. Probably mostly wishful thinking but hey I can hope.
The last thing I desperately want to see is the introduction of Elektra and The Hand. All you need to know about The Hand is that they are an evil organization of mystical ninjas. They have historically had strong ties to organized crime and the Kingpin. Elektra in turn became one of their lead assassins at one point and even dated Daredevil for a time. I would completely understand if Marvel wanted to save this stuff for season 2 but again, I would like to see the ground work laid out. Maybe you just have The Hand approach Kingpin or maybe they come up when the Kingpin is looking for an assassin. I’m sure they will show up eventually, I just hope it is sooner rather than later.
All of this to say that there is nothing but positive buzz surrounding Daredevil. Marvel so far hasn’t let us down and the trailers look amazing. The highlight of their promotional campaign has easily been their motion posters. Short little snippets that I believe will truly capture the essence of the show. Now we just have to wait a few more hours until we can watch all 13 episodes.
Back around Christmas, Marvel fans were given the greatest gift of all. One fan compiled the necessary information to create a Marvel Super-Cut. This all came about when people realized that the phase one films (Iron Man through The Avengers) were all happening around each other and at the same time. Enter the folks over at The Comic Archive who posted two videos to showcase the actual time stamps in each film and how they fit together.
Of course, being the Marvel fan that I am I set out to make one. Luckily I had started my own phase 1 cut at about the same time this came out so I really just had to double check my own cuts. This last weekend, I finished the phase 2 super-cut (Iron Man 3 through Guardians of the Galaxy). After finishing both I realized something, Marvel has created a cohesive universe beyond just sharing characters.
When I was splicing these films together, my main worry was that the scene transitions wouldn’t work out. They were all made by different directors after all and could easily have their own distinct visual style. However, the only one that had any odd or difficult scene transitions was Iron Man 3. Even then, it was just a few slide transitions.
Basically, if you watch any Marvel movie it will have the same distinct style. Scene transitions, camera angles, shots, the whole shebang. Consciously, it doesn’t really mean much. However, on a subconscious level it makes a much bigger difference.
Let me put it this way. If you showed someone all of Quentin Tarantino’s films, who didn’t know who he was, what do think they would say? They would probably pick out all of the classic tropes in a Tarantino film. Long tracking shots, almost theater-like monologues, explosive violence, and Samuel L. Jackson. When you watch a Tarantino film, you recognize that it is a Tarantino film.
Tarantino would fall under the category of Auteur directors. Directors who have such a distinct style that they are seen as the chief author of a film. That the film itself is a direct representation of their creative vision. Other directors that would be included in this category are Akira Kurasawa, Wes Anderson, The Coen Brothers, and many more.
What Marvel has done has made themselves the Auteur director. By making sure each film is in line with their vision, they can differentiate themselves more distinctly from other super hero films. Plus, since they have a recognizable style I postulate that the audience can more easily be sucked into the film. The audience isn’t having to adjust to a new style.
This really just goes to show just how far Marvel is willing to go to keep and control their brand. It also may shed some light onto why Edgar Wright left Ant-man, a film he had been working on for at least a decade. As the article states, many directors have expressed criticisms on the way that Marvel deals with scripts. However, if they are keeping such a tight hold on the look of their films, it makes sense they would also hold onto the scripts just as fiercely.
As a fan of both of these groups, I was extremely bummed out to find out that Edgar Wright had dropped out. Particularly because his particular style would I believe be aptly suited for an Ant-man movie. Now that I have done these super-cuts however, I think I would side with Marvel. Edgar Wright’s style is very distinct. Utilizing lots of jump shots and other techniques to make full comedic use of the camera. Not just in a script but how he shoots the film.
That video above does a great job explaining it. Basically, Wright’s style allows him to inject visual comedy in any genre of film regardless of the script. Using these techniques, he could have brought the perfect platform for a comedian like Paul Rudd in a more serious setting like Marvel. However, his style would clash with the rest of Marvel. Now if from the beginning Marvel just gave directors a script and allowed them to express their style, I would side with Wright. Since Marvel hasn’t done this, it makes more sense to go with a director who can help shape the story while adopting Marvel’s style.
There is no right or wrong in this. There is just a difference of opinions. While a part of me still wants to see Edgar Wright’s Ant-man, after these super-cuts I would rather have a film that fits in the large universe. Only time will tell and July 17th is fast approaching.
Alright, in case you missed it yesterday Marvel dropped their final trailer for Age Of Ultron. It was kind of big deal. Now to be honest, the majority of the new footage was, while different, a lot more of the same. We saw Hulk and Iron Man going at it. Everybody looking very disconcerted about things. Generally, more of the same. However, there were a few things that were new and kind of a big deal.
The highlight of this trailer was definitely Ultron’s speech throughout. The more we see and hear James Spader as Ultron the more awesome it gets. It seems pretty obvious that his performance is going to be the highlight of Age Of Ultron. What was also confirmed is that it is indeed Tony Stark who creates Ultron. Until now, it had been only rumored that this would be the case. There was a leak a few months back that revealed this little tidbit. Now it has been confirmed.
The second highlight is at the very end. We finally get our first look at Vision. In the comics, he was created by Ultron to show that by creating life, he now surpassed humanity. That same leak from earlier also shed some light on Vision. It seems, he will be a creation of Tony Stark and Bruce Banner. Frankly this doesn’t change a whole lot. However, I do hope there is still a connection between Ultron and his original comic creator Hank Pym.
Literally, just a passing mention would be enough. Something along the lines of him being a consultant. Like how Dr. Strange was mentioned in Captain America: Winter Soldier. This also wouldn’t be just to make the fans happy. It would help to give Ant-Man, coming out in July, a little more relevancy.
What I also found interesting in the new trailer is a scene where Tony Stark picks up Loki’s staff which contains the Mind Infinity Stone. Now, it has been said numerous times that Age of Ultron will lay the ground work for Civil War. A quick refresh, the basic conflict of Civil War in the comics is a push to get the superhuman community in check by registering everyone. The movie version will most likely be a little different. Now, this is pure speculation based off just a few seconds of film. What if when playing around with Loki’s Staff, Tony sees Thanos. He sees it and recognizes the threat which ultimately pushes him towards trying to unify the worlds heroes.
Again, pure speculation but maybe because of this intense fear of what’s coming he pushes to hard. Captain America will not like this and he will, well, push back. It would make the whole situation much more complex. Not only that but it also supports another theory that popped in the wake of this trailer. The yellow spot on Vision’s forehead is another Infinity stone, the soul stone. This isn’t how it is in the comics and is again a theory based on just a few seconds of footage. However, if Tony gets some insight from the Mind stone, he could get a glimpse at the Soul stone. He then uses the stone to create Vision as an AI with more of a conscience. The yellow spot could also just be his solar charging spot like in the comics. It being a Infinity stone is unlikely but makes for a pretty interesting theory nonetheless.
Now let’s take a second and gossip about Bruce and Natasha. Their budding romance has been rumored/hinted at throughout the build up of the film. The actual nature of it was largely up in the air. It does seem pretty clear at this point. Something is going on and it makes me feel the feels. It also feels very natural when you think about it. Going back to The Avengers, these two do share more than a few very intense moments. I could see how this could work. What we are seeing could also be just a mind trick by Scarlet Witch. Which brings me to my next point.
We finally see the twins actually doing things. Quicksilver punches Captain America right in the face and I’m sure we can expect many, many more punches to the face. We also saw Scarlet Witch using her mind tricks on Natasha. The budding romance we see between Bruce and Natasha could be a result of this. After all, Ultron says that they can tear them apart from the inside out. Messing not only with their minds but feelings as well is a pretty powerful combination.
Now the last thing that I want to talk about is death. Since the first few details have emerged, Joss Whedon has teased death. Age of Ultron is continually paraded as a dark film. The Avengers brought us to an unprecedented high, Age of Ultron will take us to an unprecedented low. My guess for who is going to die, is Captain America. Now I know what you’re thinking, what about Civil War? Well, you see in the comics Tony Stark and Reed Richards cloned Thor at one point. This was a huge turning point which showcased their hubris. What if the film sees the death of Captain America and in Civil War we see Tony Stark clone Cap for his own cause.
This seems like a pretty far flung theory but if you take into account Tony getting a glimpse from the Mind stone, it could make sense. Cap dies and seeing an opportunity, Tony tries cloning him. It results in some messed up version of Cap. We would see Natasha, Coulson, Winter Soldier, and Falcon leading the charge against this injustice. Tony could also openly admit that it is a clone but sells it as his new idea for a unified earth force. After all, a lot of problems can be solved with an army of super soldiers.
Beyond Cap dying, I would have to place my money on Bruce Banner/Hulk. Yes very hard to kill, but he is a fan favorite. Killing him off would have a powerful affect on the audience. It could also be used as a sign of just how powerful Ultron is. I still like Cap for the death but its still really anyone’s guess if anybody is going to die.
Well there you have it. With a little under two months, all our questions will be replaced by new ones and we will see just where Kevin Feige is taking us on this wild ride.
UPDATE: Late last night Marvel released a press release stating that they had come to an agreement with Sony. Spider-man will be joining the MCU in an upcoming film with his own franchise starting July 28, 2017. It seems the arrangement allows for Marvel to handle the brunt of planning and production. However, Sony will retain the distribution, financial, ownership, and final creative rights. Basically they have the power to say yes or no to story ideas. With Spider-man taking Thor: Ragnarok’s release date, there has been a slight shift in release dates. Thor: Ragnarok will release November 3rd, 2017. Black Panther has moved to July 6th, 2018. Captain Marvel is now November 2nd 2018. Rounding it out, Inhumans will now release July 12th, 2019.
What is most interesting is that Infinity War has not changed release dates for part 1 or part 2. Part 1 will release May 4, 2018 and Part 2 will release May 3rd, 2019. The only thing that I can glean from this, is that Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and Inhumans might not be as important to Infinity War as originally thought. My guess, they will be used to start setting up Phase 4. I still believe the Spider-Man franchise should wait till Phase 4, but you can read on to learn more.
Ever since the Sony Hack last year, the rumors concerning Spider-Man have been many and varied. To this day there still hasn’t been any official announcement. Even after a supposed Spidey summit in January that involved Sony’s Japan headquarters, no new news. Absolutely nothing. What we do have is a report from Latino-Review that seems to shed some light on not only the fate of Spidey but Marvel Phase 3 in general. You can read a shorter summary over at Comicbook.com that has fewer potential spoilers. Basically, Sony and Marvel came to a compromise that would allow Spidey to appear in Infinity War.
To clarify, these are mostly unfounded claims and the credibility these claims have is the Latino-Review’s supposed inside source. They haven’t been too far off in the past but I would file these reports under speculation. However, this got me thinking. If Spidey wasn’t going to appear before Infinity War what do you do with him in the mean time? Spidey has to be reintroduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). This would probably mean a new actor and a new take on the character. However, I personally feel that if we get another Spidey origin story I might just explode. So I came up with my own way to reintroduce the character.
It involves a slow reintroduction. Without any particular order of importance, I’ll outline how Spidey could be introduced into the MCU. First, he would need a Marvel One-Shot. Marvel One-Shots if you are unaware are short-films that were based on characters or events in the MCU. These were usually attached to the home release of Marvel films. Their focus ranged from Agent Coulson to Trevor’s (The Mandarin) adventures in prison to essentially an Agent Carter pilot. While not very long, these films did a great job of filling in the gaps of what happened after our favorite films.
For Spidey, I imagine two ways for this to go down. First, we would get a glimpse from Spidey’s life as an established hero. Where he stands in the grand scheme of things and even where he was when New York was under attack. I imagine Spidey being a little older. He has been around working at the Daily Bugle and hanging out with MJ. Most of his heroics would be pretty minor. Muggers, robbers, and general thugs would be his main villains. He was mostly an urban myth until the battle of New York where he is seen actively helping people and fighting off the aliens.
Then we would see where he is at now. With most heroes untouchable by the press. I mean how are you going to paint a guy who wears the American flag as a menace. Since Spidey is an “unofficial” hero, J. Jonah Jameson targets him for his rants. We then see how Spidey has been struggling to fight the press and his regular villains, something we have seen before. We would then at the very end see Tony Stark, or somebody representing him, approach Spidey. Not only to join the Avengers but to start working at Stark Industries.
The only two things that need to happen in this one-shot is Spidey’s recruitment and J. Jonah Jameson. This is mostly so that we can see J. K. Simmons become JJJ once again so that all is right with the world.
Beyond the one-shot we would also need Spidey to do some crossovers. Particularly, I think Spidey should crossover in the upcoming Marvel Netflix series. Since these series will focus around street level heroes, it’s not hard to imagine these heroes crossing paths. Spidey is first and foremost a street hero. Stopping muggings and what not since isn’t quite cut out for the big cosmic stuff.
Spidey wouldn’t even have to physically appear. They could just dot references here and there about him. Ideally, we would actually see Spidey but I wouldn’t be heart broken. If he was a regular on the series he could act as a branch between the street level heroes and the rest of the MCU.
The last thing that I think would need to happen is for an appearance in a major MCU film. Ideally this would have been Civil War. However, it has been confirmed that isn’t an option anymore. What could still work is to have Spidey appear in Black Panther. At this stage, Spidey would have to be an established hero who was either working at Stark Industries or has founded Parker Industries from the comics. What I imagine, is Spidey is invited by T’Challa to Wakanda to consult on something. Depending on how the events of Civil War leave the state of the Avengers, Spidey could be representing Tony Stark in some way. Or after Spidey is invited to Wakanda, whoever is acting as the current spymaster could approach Spidey to observe the state of the country. Whatever happens largely depends on what the state of the MCU is in at the time.
Now one other decision that would need to be made is who would actually play Spidey. I have two things to say about this. First, if they stick with Peter Parker they should keep Andrew Garfield on. I would rather them pretend the first two Amazing Spider-Man films didn’t happen but they could still fit them in. We know that other than Tony Stark and Bruce Banner the other Avengers went to do their own thing away from New York. Spidey’s two films could potentially fit into Phase 2 of the MCU. Cap was dealing with Hydra, Tony was dealing with the Mandarin, and Thor was dealing with Malekith. All of these distractions would have pulled them away from New York. This isn’t a perfect solution but if they had to, this is the only way I see them adding them to the continuity.
Now if they were to recast Spidey, I think they should go with the Miles Morales Ultimate version. Miles would bring some much needed diversity to the MCU and you could distance yourself from the Amazing Spider-Man films. You have two options with Miles. Either you establish Miles as the only Spider-Man that has ever happened. It would totally work and would mainly be simple substitution. Or you could still retain a connection with Peter Parker. In the Ultimate comics, an alternate updated version of the Marvel Universe, Miles received his powers from another spider from Oscorp. He gained similar abilities to Spider-Man but kept them secret because there was already one Spider-Man and Miles just wanted a normal life. However, Peter dies and Miles picks up the mantle soon after.
That right there does two things for the MCU. Gives us a new Spider-Man with the potential to still acknowledge the original incarnation of the character and establishes an important precedent. The precedent of passing on the mantle. Eventually, the actors playing our favorite characters have to retire from the MCU. Heck even Robert Downey Jr. came close after Iron Man 3 from leaving the studio. By introducing Miles Morales, you can show that these heroes are interested in establishing legacies. Recognizing folks that come their way that could carry-on what they started. Very important if Marvel wants to continue their brand.
All of this to say that nothing can really happen until we know the fate of Spider-Man. I do not think we need a new Spider-Man film yet. I would rather see the first Phase 4 film be a new Spider-Man film and set him up as the new driving force of the MCU. However, as long as we don’t get another origin story I’m pretty much happy.
20th Century Fox has finally given us our first look at Fantastic Four. In the wake of the first trailer release, there have been many breakdowns that pull the trailer apart. While normally this is my first step, I decided to take a different route. I had this idea while watching the trailer that would bring the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and Fox’s Universe (FU, yep that’s what I’m gonna call it) together. It dives pretty deep into comic lore so grab that red pill and lets see how far the rabbit hole goes.
It all starts with the new Fantastic Four (FF) movie. The reboot will draw more of its inspiration from the Ultimate Universe. The cliff notes, the Ultimate Universe is a modern retelling of the Marvel Universe. Most heroes are younger and the whole superhero phenomenon started in the 2000’s. Origins largely stayed the same with a few tweaks here and there. For instance, the original FF gained their powers after being exposed to radiation in space. The Ultimate FF gained their powers after exposure to the N-Zone or Negative Zone. The N-Zone is another dimension where physics are fundamentally different. This is the route that the new FF movie will take. This is the tipping point so you better hold on.
The N-Zone is parallel to the normal universe. It is often used as a bridge for cosmic villains to try and conquer the Earth or as a base of operations. Heck, even Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic, leader of the FF) and Tony Stark built a prison their to hold super powered humans during Civil War. This is where my whole idea/plan/theory/geek delusion begins. What if Fox and Marvel used the N-Zone as a bridge between their universes. This discovery would eventually lead to a massive crossover. From the FU, the FF would make the discovery of other dimensions. On the MCU side of things, we would have Dr. Strange. Kevin Feige has already gone on record that Dr. Strange will deal with alternate dimensions. A little reference to the FU universe would be all that it would take to get the ball rolling.
While we need a bridge to physically connect the universes, we also need a villain. In comes Kang the Conqueror, a time traveler who seems perfectly poised to interact with both. You see, Kang is from the 30th century where he is obsessed with history. In this pursuit he discovers the time travel technology created by Dr. Doom, we’ll come back to him in a sec. Kang then travels back in time in a Sphinx shaped ship to ancient Egypt. His goal is to claim En Sabah Nur, also known as Apocalypse. If Apocalypse sounds familiar, that’s because he will be the next villain that the X-Men face in their next movie. After he travels back in time he is confronted by the FF and eventually defeated.
Now back to Dr. Doom. Doom is the arch nemesis of the FF and more intimately Reed Richards. In the comics, Doom is practically an unparalleled genius and is a larger villain for the entire Marvel Universe. He is the ruler of the fictional Eastern European country Latveria. The new movie is changing up his origin by turning him into a hacker whose handle is Doom. This has caused some major backlash from the geek community since it seemed to turn Doom into an anti-social hacker with very little bravado. This interpretation is very different from the Doom we know and love. His manner can best be compared to a combination of Khan (Star Trek: Into Darkness) and Loki. Some might disagree but Doom has literally stood up to gods and declared his sovereignty which he then actually enforces. Awesome, right?
Why he is important to us is for his time travel tech and his connection to Kang. You see at one point, it was thought that Kang was a descendant of Doom. The comics have since made this unclear but it is still there nonetheless. So here we have a villain who is pretty intimately tied to both franchises owned by Fox. What about the MCU’s heroes? I’m so glad you asked!
Fairly recently, back in a 2010 there was a Marvel comics event called Realm of Kings. Essentially you had the Inhumans locked in galactic combat with another empire. They detonated a bomb that created a tear in space-time and gave entry to another universe. A universe where “Life has won, Death has lost” and is subsequently infested with creatures that have infested the universe. Labeled the Cancerverse, the Guardians of the Galaxy, who had been dealing with similar tears, along with other cosmic heroes set out to close the tear. Welcome to comics ladies and gentleman. At one the Guardians of the Galaxy are sent spiraling through time where they meet Kang. This is a future version of the character is interested in helping the Guardians. We’ll come back to this, just know that Kang has very recently been involved with some of movie heroes.
So what would this look like in film? Well since Fox’s plans for X-men and FF are a little less known, let’s start on their side. What I would like to see is to have their universe first take on Annihilus. To put it simply, Annihilus is the big bad ruler of the N-Zone. Incredibly powerful, he would be a very good threat for the FF to take on for their first story arc. There could even be a little crossover with X-men. Some of the X-men could help the FF in battling Annihilus. During however many films this arc would encompass, we would get little tidbits of Doom. Think of it this way, Doom would be gathering power and tech for his time travel machine. Through his conquests he naturally comes into conflict with the FF. He wouldn’t be the main villain and he would often manipulate the FF to aid in his conquests. Whether this was directly or indirectly doesn’t really matter.
The second story arc would place Doom front and center. Using his power and tech that he has been gathering to essentially wage war against the world. The FF would lead the charge and things could crossover with the X-men. For instance, Doom could team up with someone like the High Evolutionary or some other baddie of the X-Men. What would be a cool twist on a character is to have Doom team up with Forge. Forge is a mutant whose power is literally to invent. In the Ultimate universe, Forge is described as being able to create whatever he can think of. In either universe, Forge has always been a little less than a hero. Having Forge be villain wouldn’t be too far of a stretch in my opinion.
While the FF are doing their thing, we would get a host of X-men movies while set in the same universe, aren’t explicitly connected. Instead we would get films that explore more and more X-men. In a perfect world, we would see Forge as a manipulator of the X-men. Then in the final film we would see a crossover where the FF and X-men would fight both Doom and Forge. At this point it is also revealed that they have developed a time machine. At the end of the final film we would get a little teaser of Kang in the future discovering the tech.
Now that we have tackled Fox’s side of things, lets look at the MCU. Obviously, the Kang stuff would have to start after Infinity War in 2019 or 2020. My thought is that after this war, we see these tears appear. The earth heroes would go home and they would face their own villains, possibly the Masters of Evil. Basically, the Masters of Evil are the anti-Avengers. Put together by Baron Zemo, set to appear in Captain America: Civil War, to fight the Avengers. On the cosmic side of things, we would see the Guardians of the Galaxy taking care of these tears in space-time. We would also get introduced to Adam Warlock. Regardless of all this speculation, I think we will see Adam on the big screen. To put it simply, he is space Gandalf who has historically been tied to the Infinity Gauntlet and the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Most recently, Adam was helping the Guardians of the Galaxy seal these tears in the comics. This all happened during the Realm of Kings arc which I mentioned earlier. Things are about to get real confusing so hold on. In an attempt to seal the last tear, Adam becomes his evil alter ego, the Magus. Magus is an evil version of Adam who rules a religious empire known as the Universal Church of Truth. In all this madness some of the Guardians are sent sailing through various timelines, until they meet Kang. Now this is a future Kang who wishes to stop The Magus. Kang’s motivation is to stop The Magus from becoming the evil in all timelines. He helps the Guardians by giving them a weapon to help defeat Magus and stop the current future from happening.
For the movie side of things, I hope they have The Magus as the big baddie for the second story arc regardless of what I say here. He could have a hand in forming the Masters of Evil and could be the next big cosmic threat. In my plan, the final confrontation with The Magus would be after our heroes run-in with Kang. He first gives them the power to fight Magus and also gives them a warning. A warning that his younger self is coming and to prepare. To make sure that this wouldn’t be completely unexpected, we would have him be a villain for a solo film. I would make it Dr. Strange. While Kang is a time traveler, he is also a dimension hopper. He could masquerade as a sorcerer until the end of the film when Dr. Strange discovers Kang’s “magic” is simply future tech.
All through both universes we would get little hints that there are other dimensions out there. Whether they be similar or vastly different. It wouldn’t take much across all these films. The key being subtle enough where it doesn’t overtake each movies plot. These hints and easter eggs would culminate in a final button scene. Here we see the FF finally crossover into the MCU. Or Dr. Strange appears to the FF. Either way doesn’t matter much to me. We would then get a trilogy of films called the Kang Dynasty. First film we see the Fox’s heroes take on Kang. The second would have Marvel heroes battling Kang. The third and final film would give us a massive crossover that would be on a completely different scale then we have ever seen.
Two final notes. First, superhero films will eventually hit critical mass. It’s the inherent problem with sequels and franchises. You always have to up the ante from the previous film. My plan would lead to that escalation. Plus, with all the time travel hijinks you could feasibly reset everything and start over. Not only that, but this whole thing would take awhile and studio cooperation unseen in this genre of films. I do fully expect that my dreams will not be realized but oh well. I do hope, that we will at least see some of my ideas on the big screen.
Second, there is still Sony to consider. They have Spider-Man who in comics just went through a dimension hopping extravaganza himself. Spidey’s fate is still up in the air, but what if he were to come back to Marvel? That’s a conversation for another time. Maybe next week.
Ah yeah, that’s right everybody. Last night we got a brand new trailer for Age of Ultron. Unfortunately, we didn’t get too much new information. Mostly it seems we saw some extra scenes of moments we are already aware of. Nonetheless, prepare for speculation and the raw force of a geek on caffeine! As always, POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD!
The first thing we see is a group of people running towards some kind of carrier. Being shepherded by Hawkeye, something very bad is obviously happening. It’s very possible that the girl we see fall is Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch. To me, it seems that this group of people is the group of protesters we saw in the first trailer. If our heroes had just finished a battle that destroyed a city, this starts to make sense. They are fighting an enemy, possibly their first run-in with Ultron, and after seemingly defeating him he pops back up. Ultron does have a habit of not staying down.
The next little tidbit we get is Captain America looking pretty forlorn. The scene itself doesn’t look like it’s suffering damage so he could just be on the look out for an enemy. What this could also be is him truly taking in his first view of protesters. After all, Cap has never experienced that before. In his mind, military forces have always been supported by the people. He is from a time when America was fully united against a common enemy. This whole idea would lay the groundwork for Civil War. Cap is starting to realize that the Avengers have strayed from their original path.
Next Hawkeye is being sneaky in the woods. It looks as if he was waiting for that explosion to happen and he doesn’t look to happy about it. This is obviously taking place during the snowy conflict we saw from the first trailer. The part where Bruce Banner is stumbling around in the woods. How this all ties in I’m still not sure. What makes sense to me is that this is the first conflict of the film which is with Baron Von Strucker’s forces. At the very least, this snowy conflict is tied with that monastery structure we saw from the first trailer. That seems to tie together very nicely for me.
We are then treated to a shot of Tony Stark in some kind of abandoned, I want to say lab or something. He doesn’t look like he is in too much trouble but just more investigative in nature. Tony could very well be surveying the results of their conflict with Baron Von Strucker. We also get our first bit of dialogue that ties Ultron with Tony. Recent leaks confirm that Tony creates Ultron from an old Chitauri program. So it looks like Ultron will be using the connection to mess with Tony’s head as much as possible. Next up we see some more shots of the party scene where it seems Ultron makes his first villainous appearance.
Now this shot is interesting because the more we see of Age of Ultron the more it seems that Bruce and Natasha are in some kind of relationship. I’m starting to lean toward it being a more romantic relationship but it could still just be close friendship. After all, Natasha has seen the worst of Bruce and lived. That is going to require some processing and unpacking. It is obvious, that Natasha will be a calm point for Bruce. We once again see her sharing a moment with Hulk, possibly calming him down after their conflict in the woods or with Baron Von Strucker.
We’re treated to some explosions and a scene of the twins, Wanda and Pietro Maximoff, looking concerned. Maybe they finally realize that the Avengers aren’t that bad and that they have been helping a psychotic robot out to exterminate humanity. Or they are thinking of Ultron’s argument to join his side. Whatever it may be, this scene is definitely going to be a defining point in the film.
Nick Fury pops back in at this point going on about how no matter what happens, the world will always be in trouble. Kind of a hopeless perspective when you think about it. He could be leading Stark towards Civil War by following up with an idea for registration or tighter superhero regulations. Beyond that I’m not super comfortable expanding on it since I’m starting to build skyscrapers out of straw.
The first of two big scenes that truly give us some new information is shown next. It’s of an African woman in some dark cave with a pool. I say African because it is all but confirmed that Wakanda will be introduced in Age of Ultron. Wakanda is a highly advanced hidden African nation that has an abundance of vibranium, the stuff Cap’s shield is made out of. Ruled by Black Panther, it seems for sure that Ultron will seek out the nation to acquire some vibranium to build himself a new body. The woman in question has two possibilities for me, Black Panthers sister or one of his elite body guards. Shuri, Black Panther’s sister, is the heir to the throne who at one point picks up the Black Panther mantle. Panther’s body guards, the Dora Milaje, are some of the most skilled combatants in the world. Regardless who it is, what is more interesting is the setting this woman is in. This underground pool looks a lot like the one Thor was in from the first trailer. How this would tie in is anybodies guess. Mine is that after venturing to Asgard, Thor is made aware of Wakanda and goes to warn them about the threat. Speaking of which….
We also get a scene of Thor in a place that seems to be Asgard. It seems his power is on the fritz and is shooting lighting everywhere. We know from Idris Elba that during reshoots, he shot a scene involving Heimdall, Thor, and Loki. This is probably the scene he was talking about. Maybe Thor finally learns of Loki’s deception and in a conflict, Loki messes with his power. One potential long shot, is that he goes to Wakanda looking for help for whatever Loki did to him. Wakanda is known for embracing both science and magic. It’s possible Thor goes their to seek healing, which is what the pool is for.
In a completely different theory, this may not be Wakanda at all. What if Thor goes to seek answers about what he saw from Scarlet Witch, which sends him to another one of the Nine realms. Specifically, he travels to Vanaheim. Vanaheim is home to the Vanir, similar to Asgardians, the Vanir are also talented in the mystic arts. It’s possible that this pool is their Well of Wyrd that can help someone see the future. Thor see’s something troubling in the Well, possibly Ragnarok, goes to Asgard were he discovers Loki’s treachery. His powers are put on the fritz and well things happen. The more I think about this idea, the better it sounds and I’ll just say, my money is on this theory.
From the first trailer, we know that Thor is angry at Stark at one point. Angry enough to hoist him up by the throat. In this trailer, we see why. Thor is lecturing Stark on meddling with something he doesn’t comprehend. Not surprising considering that Stark created Ultron from a Chitauri program. It seems this scene will be right after Ultron’s villainous appearance where his true origin is revealed. This will obviously upset the team, throwing them into imbalance.
Next in a tricky bit of editing, it seems we see Scarlet Witch supposedly blasting Iron Man. However, later in the trailer we see Ultron firing a similar red laser to the one that hits Iron Man. Combine this with the similar scenery in both the scenes and we can see that these are connected. Nice little bit of misdirection but not quite good enough.
Now, the next bit is probably the most interesting. We see what appears to be a young Black Widow being forced onto an operating table and being cut open by a mysterious woman. All this is happening while she says that she has no place in the world. What is probably the most exciting thing for me, I take this as a confirmation that we will be seeing some flashbacks from Black Widow. Now bear with me for just one second. Historically, Black Widow got her start with Russia as a secret agent. Now in Agent Carter we are introduced to Leviathan which is the Russian version of Hydra essentially. What if Black widow started out as an agent of Leviathan? It would shed some light onto her red ledger past and reveal how she first ran into SHIELD. It also shows that their is more mystery in the world then we can even imagine. Now the real question is why she is being cut open. My bet, to make her some kind of super human. Maybe in a twist, it is revealed that Black Widow is actually an Inhuman and is experimented on. Really it could be any number of things.
I am pretty confident with this since Marvel so far has not introduced something big and just let it slip away. With a return of Leviathan, we get a new super secret organization that arguably is better than Hydra. If you want to find out more about Leviathan, you can check out my Agent Carter breakdown.
The rest of the trailer is filled with things that we already have seen in someway already. Hulk fighting Iron Man in his Hulk Buster armor, Andy Serkis potentially as Klaw, Captain America throwing down with Ultron or one of his drones, and a fleet of drones coming out of the water. While we didn’t get too much new material too work with, this trailer has expanded upon a lot of things we have already seen. Seemingly clarifying, confirming, or contradicting past thoughts.
What we still need to see is our first look at the Vision. My guess is we won’t see Vision until the last trailer before Age of Ultron. That is if we even get a new trailer. Not only that but it will probably be some scene of him on table and then having his eyes snap open. Oh well, all we have to do now is wait.
Age of Ultron May 1st, 2015
Along with the Agent Carter premiere, we saw our first full trailer for Ant-Man. This film has a lot of people confused. Ant-Man while instrumental in the comics, is not the first superhero that jumps to mind. It also doesn’t help that the last time audiences saw a movie about shrinking, it was called Honey I Shrunk The Kids. So, before I get into what you can expect let me give you a little comic book history.
To date, there have three main Ant-Men. In chronological order they are Henry (Hank) Pym, Scott Lang, and Eric O’Grady. The movie only features the first two so we’ll focus on them. Hank Pym is a brilliant scientist. He discovered the humbly called Pym Particles which he used to create a shrinking and enlarging formula. Small note, this formula also allowed him to retain his normal strength while small. When he first used it to shrink down, he underestimated it’s power and found himself the size of ant. After a nasty run in with an ant colony, he devised a helmet that would not only let him communicate with ants but control them as well. His path crosses with Janet Van Dyne, whose father was recently murdered. Her father had actually reached out to Hank to help him communicate with alien life. After refusing, this same alien somehow teleported and killed Janet’s father. Hank and Janet set out to avenge her fathers death which they succeed in. Hank gives Janet access to his Pym Particles and turns her into the superhero The Wasp.
They set out together fighting crime until the have a run in with their future Avengers. After teaming up, Janet comes up with the name The Avengers and thus our heroes our born. This little tidbit usually credits Hank and Janet as the founding members of the Avengers. During their membership, Hank goes through multiple identity changes. First as Giant Man, then Yellow Jacket, then Goliath, at one point the Wasp, and even reverts back to Ant-Man. This change of identities is usually associated with Hank’s mental instability. In fact, his Yellow Jacket persona is usually more of a villain than a hero. His unstable mental state also has serious consequences for his personal life. While Hank is famous for being a genius, he is infamous as an abusive husband. In the original comics it was a running theme that on his darker days he would revert to beating Janet. This is mostly chalked up to his mental instability and while he doesn’t receive a pass on it, he usually isn’t held to full accountability.
At one point, he creates Ultron. An AI based on his own unstable brain patterns. Ultron gains sentience and develops a form of an Oedipus Complex. He develops irrational anger towards his “father” Hank and develops romantic feelings for Janet. Ultron continually upgrades himself to battle the Avengers and since he is at his core a sentient program, he is extremely hard to get rid of. Whenever he is defeated, he simply uploads his base program somewhere else to rebuild and fight another day. In fact, at one point he sends himself into space. There he takes over a techno-organic civilization which he uses to wage war on a sector of the galaxy. Fun fact, because he did this he inadvertently caused the current iteration of the Guardians of the Galaxy to form. That’s for a later time though.
Now Scott Lang is the second Ant-Man. An electrical expert/engineer by trade, he eventually reverts to burglary to support his family. After being caught and serving his time, where he further studied electronics, he later got a job at Stark Industries. He even had a direct hand in installing the security system in the Avengers Mansion. However, after his daughter becomes terminally ill he reverts to burglary to help support her. He breaks into Hank’s lab, steals his Ant-Man suit, and breaks into Cross Technological Enterprises. While there he learns that the only person who can help his daughter is being kept against her will. After freeing her, she goes on to heal his daughter. Scott later approaches Hank to return the suit and turn himself in. However, after seeing why Scott did what he did, Hank encourages him to keep the suit and become the new Ant-Man. Scott does and begins a long and successful career.
In terms of the movie, it is important to also take not of Hank and Janet’s daughter. They actually had twins but the daughter is more relevant. In an alternate timeline, where a new generation of heroes has risen, Hope Pym is a villain. She sees the new Avengers as an insult to her parents memory and sets out, with her brother, to create the super villain team The Revengers to battle The Avengers. She and her brother also feel slighted since they believe they should be the ones to carry on the Ant-Man legacy.
There is your quick and dirty history of Ant-Man. Let us now journey into the wonderful world of speculation. POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD
The Ant-Man synopsis seems to keep most of the comic book lore intact. Hank is still the original Ant-Man, Scott is still a thief, and Hank still passes on the mantle to Scott. Now it begins to change when we look at Yellow Jacket and Hope Pym. The film Yellow Jacket will actually be Darren Cross, a former protégé of Hank’s who takes over his company. Hope goes by her mothers name, Van Dyne, which could allude to Hank’s terrible treatment of Janet. Here is where the trailer footage comes in.
In terms of Hope, we see her doing quite a few things. She seems to be training Scott and doing a fair bit of sneaking around. Whether she will be a hero or villain is still up for debate. In terms of Darren Cross, we mostly see him walking around in a business suit and pounding on some glass inside a chamber. So far rumors paint him as just a regular old villain. However, from what I see, Darren’s banging on the glass looks more distressed than angry. My guess, Darren will have been spurned by Hank for whatever reason. This will set him on a destructive path that eventually turns him into the Yellow Jacket after he sees that Hank has a new protégé in Scott. Personally that makes a much more compelling villain than just some evil dude who just views Hank/Scott as rival.
For Hope, the rumors point to her becoming an iteration of the Wasp. Possibly following in her mother’s footsteps. From the trailer though, she doesn’t seem to be doing a lot of heroic exploits. What I would like to see, is more of an anti-hero Wasp. You see, the first part of the film will be flashback to Hank’s early days as Ant-Man. Here we are also told that we will be seeing Peggy Carter and Howard Stark. There will be some crisis that SHIELD is dealing with and either Ant-Man will show up on his own accord or he will be recruited. One interesting rumor that has been floating around is that this will be the earliest introduction to the idea of the Avengers. It could be proposed by Ant-Man or someone else but this is the main idea people are thinking off.
In this flashback, it’s also rumored that we will see Janet Van Dyne as the Wasp. One potential way this could go is this flashback could be of her death. I would bet that this would lead to Hank becoming very protective of his technology. Thus when Hope shows interest in picking up her mothers mantle, Hank says no. Hope then goes on to resent her father, even blaming him for Janet’s death. This creates animosity between her and Scott since again, Hank is sharing his legacy with him.
My other hope for this movie is that Marvel won’t flinch away from Hank’s darker side. His darker tendencies toward Janet could also be the source of animosity between him and Hope. It would also give us a unique perspective of a hero we haven’t seen yet. Someone who has made mistakes and done bad things in private but seen as a hero to the public. By including theses darker tendencies, Marvel would also be returning to what makes their characters so great, they have flaws.
In the comics, Marvel created very human heroes. People that had very real problems. Most notably is Tony Stark and his alcoholism. In a story arc called “Demon in a Bottle” we see the story of Tony’s battle and victory over alcoholism. Most thought that Iron Man 2 would be an adaptation of this story. Regardless, by including Hank’s darker character flaws we would get a very human super hero.
Now that we have covered most of the rumors for Ant-Man, lets take a look at how it changes the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With the premiere of Agent Carter we got our introduction to two very important Marvel organizations. The Roxxon Oil Company and Leviathan. Roxxon is essentially a massive company that seeks to make profits by any means. Leviathian is best summarized as a Soviet version of Hydra. You can read more about them on my Agent Carter post. Since we know that Peggy and Howard, who both have big parts in Agent Carter, appear in Ant-Man I think it is safe to assume that there will be crossovers between the two properties. For instance, a situation that brings Peggy, Howard, and Ant-Man into contact could involve either one of these groups. It would also be a convenient way to capitalize on Agent Carter while tying Ant-Man to an already established property.
The other thing to note is that Ant-Man will not be the creator of Ultron on film. That honor goes to Tony Stark. However, Tony is only resurrecting an “old, dormant peacekeeping program” that he then tinkers with that creates Ultron. Recent leaks revealed that Ultron is actually a Chitauri program found by Stark after the invasion. This seemingly completely removes Hank from the creation of Ultron. However, what would be a nice nod to the comics is that we learn in either film that Tony, at one point, had asked Hank for help in deciphering the program. Wouldn’t take much but adds quite a bit for the fans.
Anways, this post is about Ant-Man not Ultron. I’ll stop there about Ultron and leave the stuff about Vision until the next trailer comes out, which is soon! What should also be noted is while Ant-Man is premiering after Age of Ultron, chronologically it could be happening differently. Some reports state that Ant-Man will either take place during or before the events of Age of Ultron. If it is happening before, you can see where some of these rumors come from.
Well that’s about it. I’ve got a little more to say but at this point we are starting to hit critical mass. I’ll pick up on a lot of these things after the new trailer for Age of Ultron hits so I have some new information for you. Until then, go read some comics.
If you weren’t aware, Marvel’s latest show premiered last night. Agent Carter tells the story of Peggy Carter after the events of The First Avenger. Basically imagine Agents of SHIELD set in the late 1940’s. The main difference? Peggy Carter takes the place of Coulson’s entire team. Now as I watched the two hour premiere, there were a few things that stood out to me.
First is the Roxxon Oil Company. Roxxon is a real company in the Marvel Universe, known as Roxxon Energy Corporation. In Marvel, they are very much an evil, corporate version of SHIELD whose only purpose is to pursue a profit. For example, most recently they popped up in the new Thor series. Their floating island headquarters was being assaulted by an army of Frost Giants led by Malekith, from The Dark World, because Roxxon possessed the Giant’s Kings skull. You also learn that their CEO/leader is also a minotaur. Now what you might not know is that this isn’t our first run-in with Roxxon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They actually pop up briefly in the Marvel One-Shot A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer.
Did you see it? Anyways, why is Roxxon relevant? They haven’t had any major part so far in the MCU. They could just be a company to compete with Stark Industries. Funny you bring up Stark. It turns out Roxxon is the one responsible for killing Tony Stark’s parents. While we probably won’t see that in this season, we could see it mentioned in the films. My bet is that we’ll see Roxxon in Ant-Man. In a less than likely scenario, Cross Technological Enterprises owned by Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) will actually be a subsidy of Roxxon. That’s mostly wishful thinking though. However, there’s another group introduced in Agent Carter that could end up playing a larger role in the MCU.
The second big thing from Agent Carter is our introduction to Leviathan (Scroll down to the section on Dark Reign and Secret Warriors). On a side not, if you want some insight into where Nick Fury’s path might lead just read the entirety of Secret Warriors. In this serious, we see a Nick Fury who has been burned by SHIELD and labeled a fugitive. He goes underground to fight HYDRA, forming his own secret team of new heroes to fight them. Here he learned that SHIELD had been infiltrated by Hydra. If this is sounding familiar, I have essentially just described the results of The Winter Soldier. In the ultimate spy twist, it turns out Hydra had been infiltrated by another organization which in turn infiltrated Hydra. This other organization is Leviathan which can best be described as the Soviet version of Hydra.
Hopefully you can start to see why this is extremely exciting. When Agents of SHIELD first started I had hoped that it would follow in the footsteps of Secret Warriors. It seems like I’m finally getting my wish. Now in the comics, we end up seeing a war break out between Hydra and Leviathan. For the MCU, I can imagine Marvel turning Leviathan into Hydra. Agent Carter is investigating Leviathan when she discovers it’s a sub-group of Hydra, maybe even a splinter group. My hope is that Lleviathanappears in Agents of SHIELD somehow as a nice little crossover between the shows. My bigger hope is that we see Hydra and Leviathan fight it out with our favorite agents in the middle.
I also wouldn’t be too surprised if we some more concrete connection between Leviathan and Roxxon. Possibly that Roxxon is the financial backbone of this secret organization or some other partnership.
The last, but most important, thing we were given is the Marvel female superhero we needed. It is already established that Peggy Carter is a badass. Now we see the continuation of her badassery along with her vulnerability. Struggling with the force of marginalization as the GI’s return, we see all sides of Peggy. She isn’t superhuman, she’s more than that. She is a person who rises above all obstacles through sheer will and skill. Not afraid to be herself and not afraid to use the same aspects of her femininity that are used to marginalize her as a tool to overcome her doubters.
Of all the heroes that Marvel has shown us, Peggy Carter is the most heroic. Not willing to bend to anybodies expectations but her own. She has her moments of strength and weakness just like us. Our heroes are often put on a pedestal that is unreachable. Peggy is the stranger that inspires, the one that appears in your life to give you a glimpse of what is possible. Sorry to get all intense and not sure if I’m even succeeding. I just feel that Agent Carter shows us something that hasn’t been seen so clearly in awhile.
Bonus: We also got the first trailer for Ant-Man, but more on that later.