At the "Marvel's The Avengers" panel held at New York Comic Con over the weekend, studio head Kevin Feige used the phrase "phase two" in relation to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. According to Feige, the upcoming "Iron Man 3" will be "the first of what we sort of refer to as phase two of this … saga that will culminate, God willing, in 'Avengers 2.'"
Not that I think many people are complaining about a second phase of Marvel movies that lead to another "Avengers," but it does make you pause and wonder… what exactly is phase two? What, and who, does it entail?
Read some of our guesses beyond the break.
Feige has already made it clear that any future version of "The Avengers" could very well involve a new lineup of superheroes. He told IGN: "That's the fun of it -- introducing new characters. How will things change after Iron Man goes through his next adventure? After Thor goes through his next adventure? If we do another Cap adventure, how will things change? The dynamic between them? Their own worlds? So that the dynamic in Avengers 2 is actually quite different than it is in the first one."
So, Feige's thinking about bringing new heroes into the "Avengers" fold. Who are some of the likeliest candidates for recruitment, then?
Edgar Wright's "Ant-Man" wasn't ready in time for this version of "The Avengers," but one hopes that his long developing plans for the incredible shrinking superhero will come to fruition as part of Marvel's second phase. Regardless, we'd love to see Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne as part of the next "Avengers" lineup, whether or not Wright's vision is ever fully realized.
The Sorcerer Supreme, Stephen Strange, is destined to make his Marvel before long, too. "Doctor Strange" movie plans have been in the works for a long, long time, and Feige recently hinted that an announcement is on its way. If a director and cast get locked down soon, you can bank on an "Avengers" sequel to get a little bit Strange.
Feige has made no secret about his plans to explore the Marvel universe beyond the confines of Earth. "Thor 2" will reportedly venture towards new parts of the cosmos, while "Inhumans" and "Guardians of the Galaxy" movies are supposedly in the works. Those characters could function just as strongly on their own, if not better than when paired with the "Avengers" crowd, but bringing in some new allies and enemies from other worlds would certainly keep in line with this "Avengers" movie's seemingly interstellar threat.
More Bark, Less Stark?
What do the new Marvel heroes mean for our familiar friends like Iron Man, Cap and Thor in phase two? Will we see a downplayed Tony Stark? Will Asgard sit this one out? I don't think we can have an "Avengers" movie without at least one of Marvel's big three in place — ideally all three of them, really — but I imagine that somebody, perhaps a supporting player like Hawkeye, would have to take a seat on the bench if new recruits are joining the "Avengers" sequel.
Tell us what you think Marvel's "phase two" involves in the comments section and on Twitter!