Friday, February 7, 2014

Marvel Rumor Round-Up: Ms. Marvel, The Vision and a Guardians of the Galaxy Sequel

Yesterday brought a lot of rumors all of which, if true, will bring great joy to my life. After the jump, we'll delve into each of them and what they might mean for the big picture of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Paul Bettany Will Be The Vision in Avengers: Age of Ultron

Yesterday's first bit of news came courtesy of Baz Bamigboye of the Daily News who reported that Paul Bettany, the voice of J.A.R.V.I.S. in the MCU, has been spotted about town in London and has been going through a series of make-up, hair and costume tests in preparation for him to become The Vision in Avengers: Age of Ultron. The story has since been picked up my almost everyone, including Variety, and certainly seems to have a lot of legs. Of course, if you've been paying attention, this is not the first you've heard of Bettany stepping into a larger role in the MCU. Last August my good friends over at Unleash the Fanboy (where I moonlight by doing some comic reviews) posted some info they received from their source at Disney that indicated things were in the works for Bettany to become the Vision.

Shortly after that, a rumor appeared at 4chan that gave some details to just how the Vision would come into being in the MCU and after that, rumors of the Vision sort of...disappeared, until now. While this hasn't been officially confirmed yet, it's safe to say the Vision is going to be a part of the movie and the MCU. This sets up any number of possibilities for future stories, including the relationship between the Vision and Scarlet Witch which is a wonderful example of android-human love. If you've been to site once or twice, you'll know how excited I am by the addition of the Vision to the MCU and I'm very pleased to have Bettany, who is a wonderful actor, playing him. At this point it seems pretty clear that J.A.R.V.I.S. will somehow transition into an android body...if only there was one just sitting around somewhere in the MCU.

Really the transition of J.A.R.V.I.S. from a program to something bigger has been coming for some time now. If you really pay attention to his evolution over the course of time, J.A.R.V.I.S. has certainly made progress as an AI. I'm not saying J.A.R.V.I.S. will inhabit the body of the original Human Torch as he did in the comics, but I wouldn't be surprised if Marvel has had this plan in the works for quite some time. 

Will Ms. Marvel Join the Fray in Avengers: Age of Ultron?

Marvel has, for some time now, been working towards adding more female super heroines to their pretty-sausagey roster of heroes in the MCU. Back in September, Marvel's Co-President, Louis D'Esposito, mentioned that Marvel was hard at work trying to bring a strong, female hero to the screen in her own film. At the same time, actress Katee Sackhoff was rumored to have met with Marvel about her availability in earlyl 2014. Last night, super-duper-Latino Scooper, El Mayimbe, broke the news that Ms. Marvel/Carol Danvers will make an appearance in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

This bit of news, while still a rumor, does raise a few points of interest. First of all, it gives some credence to the widely spread rumors about Sackhoff's involvement. If they do introduce Carol Danvers in the Avengers, they don't necessarily have to start her out as the super-powered human/Kree hybrid she becomes, though it's easy to imagine her gaining her powers at some point in the film. Does the introduction of Danvers mean that Marvel is possibly considering lining her up into one of its Phase 3 slots? Ms. Marvel is certainly one of the most powerful beings in the MCU and her inclusion in Phase 3 would make sense if the heroes are going to try to take on Thanos, who will likely have collected all 6 Infinity Stones and be omnipotent by then.

Phase 3 to Include a Guardians of the Galaxy Sequel

This is one of the most interesting pieces of news from the past few days. JoBlo reported yesterday that their sources have informed them that Marvel feels so strongly about the success of their upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy, that they are quickly lining up a sequel for Phase 3. According to the source, Marvel intends to regroup the Guardians for the May 6, 2016, which would put it up against WB's Batman vs. Superman.

That news was followed up today when Mario at Latino-Review added that his sources have told him that the studio plans of having at least one member of the Guardians, Chris Pratt's Star-Lord, join the Avengers when they take on Thanos, presumably in 2018.

While this rumor has taken a lot of heat and generated a lot of questions, I think it's a no-brainer that Marvel would want to get the Guardians back into theaters quickly and have Pratt's Star-Lord involved in an Infinity war. By ALL accounts, James Gunn has put together something wonderful with Guardians of the Galaxy and while a lot of people are sleeping on it, it's very possible that it may be one of the most enjoyable films of the summer.

This news also generated a wonderful thought in my head. If Star-Lord is going to come to Earth, he's going to have to come into contact with someone at some time. In the months leading into Iron Man 3, El Mayimbe broke the news that Marvel had filmed a scene that involved Tony Stark suiting up and heading to space where he ran into the Guardians. While it was exciting at the time, it felt very out of place in that movie and, ultimately, never made the film. Playing the what if game, I wondered the following: what if that scene was filmed but what if it was never intended to be the stinger for Iron Man 3? What if, instead, it was meant to be the stinger for the Guardians of the Galaxy film? In doing it that way, you don't use up one of Downey's contractual appearances but you still keep his incredibly famous character in the mix. It's possible Marvel could even go big and negotiate another picture with Downey and include Stark in the Guardians sequel in 2016, as my friend Christopher Marc speculated yesterday on Twitter.

The Guardians of the Galaxy film will open the door to an entirely new side of the MCU: the Cosmic. A Guardians sequel could introduce any number of new characters from that part of the universe and help build towards the ultimate showdown in Avengers 3. Richard Rider, Adam Warlock (who we are likely to meet in Guardians of the Galaxy), Quasar, Captain Marvel and a host of others could make appearances and really put some depth on the roster of heroes that will take on Thanos.

While I'm just summing up mostly rumors here, one thing is clear: though Marvel has been at this game for some time, they've still got quite a few tricks up their sleeves. Phase 3 is still a mystery beyond Ant-Man, but the company has hired writers for a third Thor film and resigned directors for a third Captain America film while also putting a lot of effort into developing scripts for Black Panther, Ms. Marvel, Doctor Strange and the Inhumans. Despite the growing catalog of comic book movies, it seems that Marvel Studios is only just getting started.