Here’s the real reason The Avengers is breaking every box office record: It’s a single sequel to five movies, Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Captain America. The Avengers are built like the Wu-Tang Clan: Everyone collaborates, then releases solo albums. But beyond that, Marvel keeps overarching story lines threaded through each film.
Marvel’s comic books have been doing this for years. Each Marvel character has their own linear comic book franchise, and occasionally those franchises will all crossover into one epic “event”, similar to what we saw in The Avengers. So by looking into the comic book analogs, we can guess the future of the Avengers films.
(This article contains spoilers for both The Avengers and some Marvel comics.)
The Multiverse: Where are Spider-Man and the X-Men?
The Marvel comics and the Marvel movies are not set in the same world. But they are set in the same multiverse — a series of distinctive universes that rarely interact. The Marvel comics actually feature more than one universe; there’s the Marvel Universe (Earth-616) and the Marvel Ultimate Universe (Earth-1610), which contain different versions of the same characters. For example, Peter Parker is Spider-Man on Earth-616, but in Earth-1610, Parker is dead and the new Spider-Man is blatino teenager Miles Morales.
The specifics of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Earth-199999) are defined only by the details given in each movie. And so far there’s been no indication of the mutant phenomenon integral to the X-Men storyline. Marvel sold the film rights to X-Men and Spider-Man to Fox and Sony respectively, so it’s possible they’ve written them out completely. But there are other lesser-known characters who may still appear in upcoming Marvel Studios films.
A film based on the blacksploitation superhero Luke Cage is in development with John Singleton directing. No one has been cast to play the titular character yet, but Old Spice guy Isaiah Mustafa has expressed interest in the role — so fingers crossed for that. Edgar Wright is also currently working on a film based on Ant Man / Giant Man, a size-shifting biochemist and founding member of the comic-book Avengers.
Next up: The Avengers 2: Thanos and Infinity Gems. Read on »