I hope no one thinks Marvel needs to make an Iron Man 4 after Iron Man 3 (read my review here) ends its run with over $1 billion. Of course, continuing on and on with a successful franchise makes sense in the short terms, but if they can continue to mine their comic archives why risk franchise fatigue?
The smartest thing Marvel ever did was finding ways to introduce a variety of their comic characters inside their other films and create an attachment from one to the next, even if that attachment was as small as Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury character. Now they have an established superhero world where the introduction of a man born during the Great Depression can still be alive in present day and fight alongside a god from another universe and a radioactive Hulk. In Guardians of the Galaxy we'll get a talking raccoon and something that looks like a warrior tree. It can't get any weirder and even if it did, it wouldn't come as a surprise.
Today's news isn't necessarily weird and it doesn't even all have to do with The Avengers franchise.
For starters, while Fox lost rights to Daredevil recently, those rights reverting back to Marvel and parent company Disney, they still have the Josh Trank led Fantastic Four reboot. With a script by Seth Grahame-Smith, Michael Green and Jeremy Slater, the latest word is Trank is turning to his Chronicle star Michael B. Jordan to play the Human Torch, the role originated by Chris Evans who now, coincidentally, is part of the Avengers franchise as Captain America.
Fantastic Four is currently looking at a March 6, 2015 release and Jordan is only the most recent name rumored for a role as "Girls" star Allison Williams has found her name mentioned with many speculating she would take over where Jessica Alba left off, as Sue Storm (aka The Invisible Woman).
Getting back to the whole Avengers universe, Chadwick Boseman, star of 42, is rumored to be one of the names considered to play the role of Black Panther. The character originally premiered in the pages of Fantastic Four, but he eventually journeyed from the fictional African nation of Wakanda to New York City, New York to join the Avengers. Whether that will happen is a complete unknown at this point as Whedon and Marvel certainly already have their next couple years of Avengers plans worked out.
Only yesterday news began circulating (via EW) that the characters Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch are currently confirmed to appear in The Avengers 2. The mag asked Marvel exec Kevin Feige to confirm the news to which he said, "I'm not confirming or denying. The draft could change six months from now." Make of that what you will, but everyone seems to be running with the idea that this is confirmed information... for now.
Finally, with Iron Man 3 hitting theaters internationally last weekend and breaking the international opening record set by The Avengers and opening in China only yesterday to the estimated tune of $21.5 million (source) everyone is wondering what will come of Downey Jr. in the Iron suit.
John Stewart asked him only recently and Downey's response was to say, "I had a long contract with them and now we're gonna renegotiate" with a wink and a smile. This comes coupled with his statements made to GQ recently where he said:
"Right now I don't have a contract to do anything, and I did for the last five years. … Here's the thing. At whatever point I'm done with this, I'm going to have a bit of a crisis, because I probably haven't even fully ingested how much I've enjoyed it, how much it's meant. It so came out of kind of relative obscurity as this second-tier character from the Marvel universe, and I feel I was part of making it something more. But it also to me was just good filmmaking."
Of course, when Gwyneth Paltrow was asked about the proposition of an Iron Man 4 she said, "I don't think there's going to be an Iron Man 4. I think we're done with Iron Man."
A lot can obviously still happen, but the future seems to be set for right now. Iron Man 3 hits theaters Friday, Thor: The Dark World arrives November 6, Captain America: The Winter Soldier hits theaters April 14, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy will be released on August 1, 2014, The Avengers 2 arrives May 1, 2015 and Edgar Wright's Ant-Man is set to hit theaters on November 6, 2015. What more do we ned?