Friday, March 20, 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron Rumors Could Shape the Future of the MCU


Almost EVERYTHING after the jump could be considered spoilers, so jump at your own risk.


Yesterday Rich Johnston of Bleeding Cool, a site that deals in all things comic booky, ran with some pretty heavy hitting rumors about the future of the MCU and the fate of an Avenger. Rich was good about identifying them as rumors up front and even pointed out they may not be true, but some of the info was still pretty interesting. Rich's source, who he claims to have gotten good info from in the past, claimed that Aaron Taylor-Johnson's Quicksilver, a new addition to the Avengers lineup, would NOT be coming out on the other side of his first assignment as one of Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

As I often do when MCU rumors pop up, I tagged the MCU rumor triumvirate of Devin Faraci, Drew McWeeny and El Mayimbe, asking them their opinions of Rich's rumors and Devin was quick to chime in that they were false:

And so, it seemed to put an end to that until some further conversation with Faraci about Quicksilver revealed more info:



So Johnston's rumors, like many of the rumors from reputable sites, were true, at least at one point in time. Therein lies one of the pitfalls of the rumor/scoop game: things change very quickly. Film making is a very dynamic process and done by very creative people who can change their minds very quickly.

While Faraci was in the talking mood, I addressed another portion of Rich's rumor which had both the Hulk and Thor finding their ways into Captain America: Civil War, something I thought was VERY, VERY unlikely given their abilities to be game changers. Devin seemed to agree:

So our conversation ended with me feeling pretty confident that Faraci, who has proven VERY reliable when it comes to Marvel Studios' news, was on point in his rebuttals to Johnston's rumors. Faraci has been on top of rumors about how Avengers: Age of Ultron would end for a while, writing this piece back in October, revealing the identity of Captain America's team of Avengers at the conclusion of the film. While Faraci has been adamant about the chances of Cap's team changing, some things have been constants: both Hulk and Thor will NOT be running around with their friends by the time the credits roll.

Today, while reporting on the unofficial synopsis or Captain America: Civil War, Faraci decided to further refute the Bleeding Cool rumors and, in the process, repeated much of what he's said before in bits and pieces in one pretty spoilerish chunk, while also adding some interesting new nuggets:

I am familiar with a couple of drafts of the script (one pre-ScarJo pregnancy, one post) and I can tell you that in both drafts the movie ends with the original Avengers splitting up and going their separate ways. Captain America and Nick Fury put together a new team, missing most of the big solo guns. Iron Man is done, Hulk is missing and Thor has returned to Asgard to deal with the events leading up to Thor: Ragnarok. Those last two are vital - my sources tell me they're sitting out Infinity War Part I as well, which means Marvel wants to take them off the shared universe board until they (along with Captain America) return in Part II. Bringing Thor right back for Civil War makes no sense. Bringing Hulk back makes even less sense, as his disappearance is a pretty big deal at the end of Ultron, and undoing that immediately seems silly.
Could these characters cameo? Sure, anything is possible. War Machine and Scarlet Witch are Avengers now, so their appearance in Civil War makes strong sense. Peter Parker? Maybe, but I wouldn't hold my breath on him having a major role. Ant-Man and The Wasp? Could be! There will be a Wasp in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But here's the thing about this rumor: it's just listing all the characters who have been in the movies. On some level I get that Civil War would bring in a lot of cameos (it was being called Avengers 2.5 in-house), but since the plan for Infinity War is so specific - a lot of the name brand Avengers will not be in Part I - I don't see Marvel just shoehorning everybody in here.
And the most telling thing about this rumor: where's Winter Soldier? I have been assured again and again by sources deep in Marvel that Winter Soldier continues to play a major role in Captain America: Civil War. Anyone with legitimate inside knowledge of the film would have mentioned him.
Marvel's Phase 3 is basically starting with a huge Avengers film that's just being titled Captain Ameria: Civil War. However, as I've stated before, it'll have more Avengers in it than Avengers did and promises to totally change the landscape of the MCU just as Phase 3 is getting underway. Given that Avengers: Age of Ultron ends with the majority of the Avengers working with Cap, it would seem Tony Stark, who is essentially retired at the end of the film, might have a hard time assembling a team of his own and would probably need a pretty good reason to do so in the first place. Faraci shared some insight on that with me as well. After commenting that Stark's roster would seem a little small, Faraci replied:

And as for why Stark, who will apparently walk away a defeated man at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, would want to get back into the game, it appears that Bucky Barnes, operating as the Winter Soldier and murdering his parents might be a good enough reason:


Piecing all this together into a brief narrative that's partly filled with deductions based on a host of other rumors gives something like this:

At the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Cap, Nick Fury and Black Widow have a team of Avengers. which consist of pretty much everyone besides Hulk and Thor. The events of Captain America: Civil War force Tony out of retirement and make Avengers choose a side. The event that starts the Civil War in motion will likely be tied to Bucky and it may well be that it is revealed to Tony that he killed his parents. The idea of Bucky running around outside the law and being able to murder and not answer for it will likely push Stark to action. Stark and Rogers will essentially become polar opposites of their original MCU selves, with Stark looking for rank and file to keep things organized and Rogers looking to bend the rules to do what he sees is right. As for Peter Parker and T'Challa's roles, that's all up in the air, but I can imagine that when Tony Stark goes knocking on T'Challa's door telling him he has to register his abilities, that won't sit well with the King of Wakanda. I can also imagine that a teen-aged Peter Parker would find himself more drawn to Tony Stark than Captain America, but we'll see how that goes.


Those of you looking for potential rosters for the Civil War, might like something like this:

Cap's Secret Avengers:                                         Stark's S.H.I.E.L.D.:

Nick Fury                                                              Hawkeye?
Falcon                                                                   Maria Hill
Black Widow                                                        Scarlet Witch
Vision                                                                    Quicksilver
Ant-Man                                                               War Machine
The Winter Soldier                                              Hank Pym
Wasp                                                                     Spider-Man
Black Panther


                                          Out of the Picture:
                                                   Thor
                                                   Hulk


Of course it's unlikely that ALL those characters will appear in Civil War, but Falcon, Black Widow, Hawkeye, The Winter Soldier and Black Panther are confirmed to appear alongside Cap and Iron Man, so we have quite a film to look forward to. Of course,  I've long thought Civil War would end with Captain America on a slab and see Bucky take his place, which means we'd be barely into Phase 3 and 3 of the big 4 Avengers would be off the board. Faraci, who stated he has at least one source deep within Marvel, gave his take on how Phase 3 will piece together after the chaos of Civil War:
What is my guess as to the shape of the MCU, Phase Three? I think that after the events of Civil War Captain America is no more - either dead or retired, possibly taking on the Nomad name. That film is very much setting up the next Avengers in a big, big way. After Ragnarok Thor is also out of the picture. The Hulk will remain missing or will pop up offworld. Cap's side will have lost the Civil War, so maybe Black Widow and Nick Fury have gone deep, deep underground. Considering his general nature and the storyline of his solo movie, Ant-Man would also be on Cap's side if he's in Civil War, so he and the Wasp could join the spies on the lam. Iron Man is running the show when Infinity War Part I happens... and everything goes bad. It isn't until Part II that all the big guns come back, teaming up with the new kids like Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, Captain Marvel and a whole slew of Inhumans, to take down Thanos and save the universe.
And that, as Faraci says, is a mix of rumors, opinions and informed speculation, but it sounds pretty darn reasonable to me. That's a lot to take in guys, but there you have it all in one place. What are your thoughts on how Phase 2 will end and Phase 3 will shape up after starting with such a huge film?

SOURCES: Bleeding Cool and Badass Digest