With Marvel’s Phase Two off to a stellar start thanks to Tony Stark and co with Iron Man 3 ($307 million so far, and it's not yet out in the US), Kevin Feige and the company must be feeling confident about the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the next couple of years, we can expect return visits from Thor and Captain America, plus introductions to the Guardians Of The Galaxy and Ant-Man, all cherry-topped by the (hopefully) triumphant return of the Avengers in Joss Whedon’s sequel. Entertainment Weekly got hold of Feige to talk the movies’ development and put out some new pics, including one of Bucky Barnes in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, above.
Next up from Phase Two is another visit by Asgard’s finest (Chris Hemsworth) and his hammer in Thor: The Dark World. The trailer has already hit (see the bottom of the page) and Feige explains what Game Of Thrones veteran Alan Taylor is offering as director. “Alan is bringing a grittier, more visceral, more textured patina to the designs of the worlds, and to Asgard in particular,” Feige says. “It’s less to chase either Game of Thrones or Lord Of The Rings – because you’re not going to catch up. But part of the fun of Thor over the other characters is he doesn’t have to stay on Earth. We visit a few of the other realms in this new movie.”
Then, next year brings Chris Evans’ Cap back for a story ripped from Ed Brubaker’s comic book run about Bucky (Sebastian Stan) recovered, resurrected, brainwashed and augmented into lethal killer Winter Soldier for what is promised as a blend of spy thriller and World War II hero Steve Rogers continuing to find his place in the modern world. "Cap does stay with S.H.I.E.L.D. because he has nowhere else to go,” Feige explains. “But he’s not necessarily comfortable there. As you might imagine, somebody who’s spent 70 years in ice, frozen, wakes up and has to fight a bunch of aliens with a bunch of weirdoes – he is trying to figure out what his life is.”
Late 2014 sees the launch of the riskiest entry in the second set of films, Guardians Of The Galaxy. With Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Michael Rooker, Dave Bautista and more aboard, director James Gunn will have to spin a story that feels more like Star Wars than Marvel and features a talking Raccoon and a tree-man. "It’s a huge story on a massive canvas,” Feige admits. “We can take it to all those crazy places as long as all the characters respond in an emotionally truthful way. That’s why I believe people are going to respond to Chris Pratt and to an alien Zoe Saldana – because they did respond to her that one time before with Avatar. And to a tree and a raccoon who, it is certainly our intention, will steal the whole movie.”
Avengers 2 seems like much more of a slam-dunk, especially with Whedon back in charge of script and directing. Though Robert Downey Jr’s contract has now been fulfilled, it’s likely he’ll be back to lead a team that could well feature some new players (Whedon has hinted at brother-sister team Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch). “What’s fun is that the roster shifts,” Feige says. “It was always the intention to have a storyline that brought in, obviously, new bad guys and potentially new heroes.”
Finally, late 2015 should deliver Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man, which is likely to kick off shooting either late this year or early next. No casting has been locked in yet, but there is still work to be done on the script, which has been in the works by Wright and Joe Cornish since before Iron Man. “Frankly, now we have to re-write it to put it a little bit more into the MCU because it was written before it existed,” Feige explains.
For lots more on the various movies, and what is currently known as the Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV pilot, head to EW. Thor: The Dark World will continue the fight on November 1.