A few weeks ago I began a two part editorial discussing Marvel Studios and what they might plan out leading up to Avengers 2 (check it out here). We all know Thanos is teased to be the main villain but will they wait that long to even show him a second time, or would they use any of the solo films to display the kind of power Thanos has so the movie audience knows he is someone that the Avengers NEED to team up in order to face and stand a change of defeating? My suspicions led to Thanos maybe seeing some time in Thor 2, but Kevin Feige kind of swatted that idea down in a recent interview (along with any chances of Mark Ruffalo being in Iron Man 3) though you never know.
This 2nd and last article is completely hypothetical and more of a “what would I do with the Avengers Franchise?” kind of thing. I wanna dive past Avengers 2, talk Avengers 3 (because most if not all of the main actors are signed through that) and lead into something that Marvel has said could happen, and if done right could be a HUGE deal for comic films even more so than this Summer’s team up!
So all films leading to Avengers 2 will build upon the solo adventures of each member, evolving their characters before taking one or two of the last films to setup the threat of Thanos, maybe not as a main villain but an after credits scene or something. After that though where can each character go and what threats will they face when they come together for a third mission? Soon after the success of the Avengers was known Kevin Feige took a lot of interviews and was given many different questions, a good portion of those were directed towards pulling Marvel Comics storylines into the movie universe so fans can see them told by the on screen actors they have grown to love. The one asked about the most was Civil War.
Civil War for those who don’t know is arguably the most successful event Marvel has ever had, as it spanned across their entire universe (minus the X-Men). It revolved around a bill known as the Superhuman Registration Act, which essentially would force heroes to reveal their identity and become government agents. They would be unable to freely protect the world of their own free will and would be held responsible for great damages ensuing from their battles. It was something that left the roster of Marvel characters torn and led to two groups, one led by Iron Man and one led by Captain America. There were several other storylines woven into the fabric of this event involving major characters like Spider-Man, Nick Fury, and more. While I agree this is certainly a direction Marvel should look into, I don’t think it’s something to rush into.
So lets look at Avengers 2, Thanos is defeated with the heroes coming out on top in some fashion, maybe some have fallen (with someone like Thanos it’s almost necessary to have a major casualty) but the Avengers have saved the Earth, so what now? I would say use any films that you implement between Avengers 2 and 3 to show how much of a toll the events of 2 took on the heroes, have them needing space from each other to heal, morn a fallen brother or sister and just show the scars that kind of battle would leave on these characters. I would honestly say kill Thor off in Avengers 2, he would be the most likely to feel he is powerful enough to take on Thanos himself, not to mention he may want to keep the titan from killing his brother. This can set up something in my future storylines that ties into the full evolution where to go for Avengers 3. This can also be the moment to have Loki redeem himself, seeing his brother fall to protect him. It can also build tension between the teammates on making a call to let Thor take on Thanos alone, or doubt if they can truly take on any threat without fear of losing someone.
Maybe then Iron Man 4 can really focus on Tony’s drinking problem, have alcohol be his self determined solution for dealing with the loss of Thor and the stress of being an Avenger. Have Cap lose respect for Tony after falling to alcoholism, and maybe have the Hulk outcasted for something that takes place in A2. I feel by A2 or maybe before it that vision needs to be introduced. Use the Coulson idea or any other spin but he will be needed in the events to come. When Avengers 2 is over this teams needs to feel breakable, and the films leading up to A3 should be their coping and eventually attempting to gain some sort of grip on their actions and coming together to try and make the team work.
Avengers 3 should truly borrow from the story “Avengers Disassembled” as this was one of the building blocks towards Civil War. Disassembled focused on Scarlet Witch wreaking havoc on her former teammates and aided by Vision. In the comics Scarlet Witch is the daughter of Magneto and a very powerful mutant who can alter reality and control chaos magic. She became an Avenger and married Vision and was one of the most powerful an reliable members of the team before this event takes place. The Avengers must battle an insane Scarlet Witch, alien invasion, members die, and lots of chaos ensues. I feel Disassembled can be simplified for the film, eliminate a few elements and make the focus on this powerful former hero being driven to madness and targeting her former friends. Lots of elements unfold in this story but the premise is simple, an unexpected threat from a trusted ally sets the team off balance, members die, or succumb to the great loss in fits of rage and only barely make it out alive only to have all these events (in addition to Tony Stark going broke) be the things that drive them apart.
Using Avengers Disassembled means introducing quite a few characters that are currently not in the movieverse or altering who plays what role. Scarlet Witch, even though being a mutant and daughter of Magneto is in fact usable by Marvel in their films as long as they make no mention of her being a mutant or Magneto. She Hulk could easily be introduced if they do plan on making another solo Hulk film, if not they could substitute for Hulk himself and have him be the one to kill Vision. When looking at these stories you have to keep an open mind because the movie universe is not meant to follow the comic one to the letter, it is it’s own thing just like the Ultimate Universe is, so changes (as long as they make some level of sense) can be made. Vision is someone that can be established in Avengers 2 or even sooner if the Ant Man film is indeed going to start filming by early next year. The characters needing introduction are all possible and reasonable within the time table currently available. Doctor Strange would also need to be introduced to movie goers as he plays a role in discovering Scarlet Witch’s motivations and reasoning for attacking her former team.
This is all the necessary steps in order to try and tell a movie version of Civil War. I feel a Civil War movie itself should be the culmination of a series of events that take place in each key player’s individual films. There shouldn’t just be a trilogy of Civil War films, there should be lead up films and Civil War should be the climactic telling of the all out craziness that ensues between the sides of Iron Man and Captain America. Civil War has key players that are currently not apart of the Marvel Studios umbrella, including Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four. These characters are so vital they NEED to be involved and cannot be substituted by other available roster members. This would involve either the miracle of those characters’ licenses being returned to Marvel, or all of them would have to swallow the pill of ::gasp:: co-producing the films. Marvel would have to work with Sony and Fox to establish an inter-connecting plot thread to setup Civil War. Partnerships for studios of this magnitude are extremely difficult and highly unlikely, but that is why this article is hypothetical and working in a “perfect world” scenario.
So lets say all the studios work together and hold hands and prepare for what could be the biggest event in cinema. I say start off with the next Iron Man film (be it 4 or 5) and have it focus on Tony’s turn to support the registration act and work his ass off to try and get other heroes in support of his cause. You can start the film off with two major events, the Hulk’s rampage in Vegas and the explosion of an elementary school caused by Nitro and the New Warriors. This can swing the turn needed for Stark to realize the act is the right thing (in his eyes) and work with the various heroes that share his opinion (Mr. Fantastic and Hank Pym) while trying to recruit a big target. Stark can put his focus on convincing Spider-Man that being the poster child for the Registration Act will be a huge move in showing that revealing yourself will do nothing but help. Major villains will not be necessary for these stories as it’s about the heroes themselves, choosing sides and what consequences there are to what they do. I really feel the film’s ending should follow the pattern of Iron Man 1 with a press conference of Spider-Man revealing who he is. Make the bonus scene one that shows Captain America watching and realizing that this is the first move Stark has made in this little chess game and that his is next.
From there you can swing (no pun intended) into the next Spidey film, and have the central focus be on the consequences of him revealing his identity. Show the danger is puts his family in by having his enemies know who he is close to and have easy access to things that pull at the wall crawler’s emotions. You can equip him with the Iron Spider suit as a reward for revealing himself as well as making it a big target that not only is he pro RA but also Iron Man’s little buddy. You could bring Captain America in for a mid film tangle with Spidey, trading blows as each one pleads their case to the other. Set up a great peril that effects Peter for revealing who he is that puts his decision to follow Iron Man and the Registration Act into question. You can use Spidey as a bridging gap between Pro Act and Anti Act as the film can end with Parker confronting Stark about how he talked him into ruining his life by revealing his identity and defecting to the side of Captain America.
You can use that ending to tie into Cap’s film, where you can see the inner workings of the resistance against the Act and what they have done to counter everything. Show how they have been battling villains and leaving them for authorities to claim. The film needs to focus on their views and give the movie goers a fair look at the anti side because at the conclusion of this film you want them to take sides and go into the theater for the next chapter wanting to see their side come out on top. The Cap film itself needs to conclude with both Stark and Rogers knowing that the only remaining option is to fight. I am hesitant to have the sides come to blows during the Cap film because traditional Hollywood sense would lead you to believe that the payoff of Iron Man and Cap really going at it should be saved and I agree. However the real catalyst to a full on war was when Stark and Rogers were face to face after an ambush and Cap sucker punched Iron Man with a device that disabled his armor. This caused a quick brawl between the two sides until it was stopped due to a murder.
I think this is a good way to close the Cap film, as you can have Cap and his group come to what they think is a super villain crime taking place, only to be surrounded by Iron Man and S.H.I.E.L.D.. From here you can have some true face to face dialog between Stark and Cap and still have the quick sucker punch. From there the brawl can break out and be quick, with Goliath (quick explanation, he is a Black Giant Man, for a detailed explanation see HERE) stepping forward as a distraction for Cap and his men to escape. Tony can then unleash a secret weapon he had been developing, a clone of Thor (who if you remember from earlier in this article, I set up to die in Avengers 2) who steps in and kills Goliath, scrambling Iron Man and company to stop him as they never wanted him to kill anyone from the Anti Registration side. This climax can really lead each side to look at the situation and know the only way to win is to fight.
In the movie universe at this time we never addressed what happens to Hulk. In the comics he is sent to outer space as Iron Man sees him as too great a threat. For what I truly want to plan out for this telling of Civil War I don’t want him in space. As much as Planet Hulk was enjoyable, I feel it adds a sense of something new if Hulk were still on Earth for all of this. I am not saying he is freely running around and observing, but I think this is where Marvel can pull a “What If?” and play out Civil War to the tune of Hulk still being a possible player. In the films he has ties to Stark for the level of understanding Tony has towards Banner, yet Bruce also tremendously respects Captain America. It’s tough to exactly see where Hulk can fit in as he was a catalyst to the act and may be to the point of just a roaring rage monster, but you could certainly develop that the Banner feels a level of remorse for his murderous attack. He could internally struggle with the Hulk over what role he is suppose to play in the world.
One idea I keep coming back to is having Banner gain knowledge of Goliath’s murder, and that Tony has a Thor clone disagreeing with the idea of cloning a God in the first place. He could also use Hulk’s rage against Thor to direct him against the clone and unleash his desire to want to “Smash the Puny God”. This way Hulk never chooses a side and fights for a purpose all his own and in turn eliminating the Thor Clone for good. It doesn’t make the Hulk and important character per say, but the way I want to play it out works in my eyes, you’ll see when we get to it.
These three films can lead into Civil War, where you can set focus to key plot points. The development of a Super Hero prison in an alternate dimension by Mr. Fantastic, the Nanite development Tony Stark created to control Super Villains to help his cause, and the climactic battle between both sides in the middle of New York. The prison can be a way to have dialog between members of each side as well as show a slight dark turn the pro registration members have taken it, the reveal of this information to Cap and his side can setup the huge battle between him and Iron Man. In the comics this revelation leads Cap and his team to infiltrate the prison to free their fellow heroes, which then starts a battle between them and the Pro registration members along side the villains who are controlled by nanites. The fight then gets taken to New York for the ultimate climax of who comes out on top. Here is where I want to slightly change how it all plays out.
Before the full on Battle between Cap and Iron Man and before battle lines are crossed in NY I want to revisit my Hulk idea. Right before all hell breaks loose Tony can reintroduce the Thor clone after he and Reed Richards worked to tame his murderous rage. As the clone steps forward a loud roar is heard as Hulk leaps onto the scene and goes face to face with “Thor”. After a quick banter between the two and Hulk realizing this is not the real Thor, he quickly manhandles the clone, defeating him with little effort. As Cap tries to approach Hulk, he quickly lashes out uninterested in choosing a side. Here Hulk can show he is only interested in proving he is the strongest there is and he will prove it the day the real Thor returns.
As far as keeping it in the big apple, NY still fits because it’s the city that everyone first saw the Avengers to defend on the big screen so having it be the place where they all fight each other for their own beliefs is a perfect fit. No matter how many times they focus on smaller battles it should always come back to Tony and Steve. Trading verbal and physical blows while innocent bystanders watch on including both police and firefighters. Each having their own opinions on who they are pulling for until Cap gains the upper hand in the fight, and is close to punching Iron Man to death. You can still have the police and fire fighters come in to pull Cap away long enough to see how close he was to killing Stark. As he realizes this and looks at the people holding onto him, he nods to Tony and declares his surrender, to end the fighting. As Tony knocks the last few cobwebs loose from his head and hears Rogers’ words, a bullet comes shooting through Cap’s chest. Fire Fighters and Police jump back, with the police looking in the direction of the shot fired to identify a shooter, as Cap’s body falls to the ground. The event causes everyone to stop and Tony to rush to Cap, who by the time he gets there is already dead. The film can close on a funeral service for Captain America, reveal that Tony Stark has ended any pursuit of Anti-Registration heroes and now takes his place as the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. to try and bring some balance back to the world and it’s defense against true threats.
This isn’t truly where it ends however, as I would set up a special little bonus scene after the credits. The camera will come back to the grave site for Cap, looking at his tombstone and any memorials left around it. It will then move under the earth and into the casket, slowly panning up the length of Steve’s body, bringing his face to the center of the camera, where it than turns GREEN.
As I’ve said these are all just my opinions, a fun way to begin a discussion of what a Marvel Movie Universe could be. I know most (if not all) of this is hardly possible, any thought leading me to think this will happen is foolish. It’s just a series of ideas I wanted to share and since Avengers is still a hot topic, it’s always fun to dream. Hope you enjoyed this and by all means share your opinions in the comments section.