With Guardians of the Galaxy coming out this Friday and the new Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer revealed at Comic-Con 2014 last week, the Marvel film universe is spinning an ever-larger web of interweaving characters.
Since the last Avengers movie, Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America have added another chapter to their own franchises, enriching further the overall story of the Marvel universe. The introduction of formidable villains such as Thanos, a villain comparable in power and evilness to Darth Sidious, and Ultron, whose origins are now changed to be in the hands of Tony Stark himself, will also make intricacies of the Marvel web all the more interesting.
If the different movies are able to connect with each other even marginally, a clearer perspective of the bigger picture will start to come into view, as well as perhaps a greater overall message too. For example, the connection between the Starks and Captain America Steve Rogers: Howard Stark helped the war effort with his weapons technology and also created Captain America’s suit and shield. The fact that Stark Industries and S.H.I.E.L.D. can span through generations is super useful in connecting the different histories, even different worlds together, like Asgard. Though a very tenuous connection, Thor becomes an other-worldly Avenger because S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Agent Coulson finds his hammer that King Odin threw down, deeming his son yet unworthy to wield the mighty weapon. It is enough of a connection to be believed however, since many everyday connections are just as tenuous. And with Thor comes the convenient threat of alien invasion, a premise that fueled the first Avengers movie with Loki being the baddie with the implication of Thanos directing from the shadows.
Sadly however, neither Thanos nor Ultron-creator Hank Pym will be in Age of Ultron, as Joss Whedon decided to go in another direction with the Avengers sequel. Instead of Pym, who eventually becomes Ant Man, Tony Stark is made the unwitting creator of the mega-robot Ultron, with rumors that a Jarvis gone rogue might be partly to blame. Though introducing Pym in the sequel may have been a clever way to introduce Ant Man into the mix, Whedon has his hands full adding brother-sister team Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch as well as thinking of which Avenger to kill off. Now that the Avengers are 8 strong and counting, it is inevitable some will have to succumb to death, and there is speculation who will be the first casualty; Hawkeye, Captain America, and the Scarlet Witch have all been named as potential KIAs. Why would the Scarlet Witch be bumped off as she is just being introduced? There are some good reasons: 1) She would be the only Avenger so far whose power stems from magic, possessing the gift of telekinesis and the ability to cast spells. Magic would be tricky in an established world that is more sci-fi than fantasy, with magical elements so far only relegated to alien entities; 2) Scarlet Witch’s death helps drive the story for the Ultimates, a Marvel comic series that has significantly influenced and inspired the film universe.
While who ends up dying in Age of Ultron remains up in the air, the choice of adding the twins into the Avengers would be a good eventual tie-in with the X-Men franchise, as Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch are the children of Magneto. Ultron himself also has a connection with Wolverine by his use of the fictitious metal alloy adamantium.
It would be interesting to know whether or not the writers and directors of the various Marvel film franchises get together for a pow-wow to make sure everything adds up to each other, keeping the web unbroken by logic gaps and parallel story divergences. In the meantime, enjoy the Age of Ultron teaser trailer.