Breaking news tonight out of the Disney quarterly earnings call. Disney CEO Bog Iger has made it official that The Avengers director Joss Whedon would be returning to helm the film’s sequel which he will also write. No date has been announced, so the operating assumption of a May 2015 release looks to be still in play as the earliest reports on the matter have all suggested.
This is going to be a move met with great enthusiasm from the Marvel Studios fanbase who absolutely could not imagine this franchise being pulled off nearly as well with any other director. That said, there has been sentiment voiced by Whedon that he himself was unsure of returning. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator was not quite sure if he had a story–something we movie fans never seem to understand, but hear time and time again from a variety of directors.
Perhaps the reason this topic was so important that it was reserved for the quarterly earnings report was because of how much money is at stake with this franchise. The movie debuted in May to $207.4 million (the biggest opening weekend ever) and subsequently road that to a $1.46 billion global haul which ranks third on the all-time list. Landing anyone other than Whedon seemed like an automatic lost opportunity that could result in a shrinking of the pot as series’ of that size often necessitate quality to repeat its predecessors’ performances.
When The Avengers sequel does come out, it will presumably have a lot of new characters to play with as Marvel Studios could have as many as five in-between efforts between now and then. The group’s 2013 offerings are Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World. Both of those seem like cookie cutter ‘don’t mess with success’ sequels, but the ones in 2014 will definitely spice things up for round two. Projects being eyed for two years from now include Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, and potentially Ant-Man as well although that one is still up in the air.
The Winter Soldier will reportedly introduce Captain America’s sidekick Falcon who will be played by Anthony Mackie. While details on that are scarce, there could certainly be ramifications in that franchise that directly impact The Avengers 2′s story. The big daddy of them all though will be Guardians of the Galaxy which will almost assuredly feature a time-traveling last-of-their-kind group of superheroes who do battle with Thanos who happens to be the villain teased at the end of The Avengers. Like Thor did with Loki, Guardians of the Galaxy will look to set the table for some major happenings the next time the gang gets back together.
Following that there may or may not be the release of the Edgar Wright-directed Ant-Man movie and should that feature get made, the character might actually be in The Avengers’ second outing. How it all goes down will be based on whether or not the director finishes up The World’s End in time to take over for Thor: The Dark World’s London-based production outfit in early 2013. Should that happen, Marvel Studios is said to be completely open to the idea of having a third film in 2014. This might just be a curve ball though as the studio could have already decided to introduce the character in The Avengers’ sequel, setting up a late summer 2015 release for the character’s solo project.
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