Getting To Know The Avengers

You can’t move for superheroes on the big screen each summer, and let’s make no bones about it…we love it! And there’s such a wealth of characters out there to develop that they’ll be coming at us for some time to come. Currently there are plans for new movies to be developed for the likes of The Flash, Wonder Woman, Ant-Man, Spider-Man, Silver Surfer, Green Lantern, Superman, Magneto and Venom…those ranging currently filming projects to mere pipe dreams.

The most e xciting films though revolve around Marvel’s plans for The Avengers, due to be released in 2012. Plans began way back in 2007 when The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man went into production and since then a master plan has been hatched. Iron Man 2 is due this summer with Captain America and Thor films coming next year, it’s all building towards an Avengers film in 2012 – bringing together these money-spinning franchises. Sequels could also be on the way for each of the characters should the first installments go well, and we’re likely to be introduced to a fair few new heroes too along the way. It’s an ambitious plan, but one you can’t help but be excited for. Here’s all the info you need on each of the films planned:

The First Avenger: Captain America

Played By: Chris Evans

Director: Joe Johnston

Release Date: July 22nd 2011

Character Background: Steve Rogers, a scrawny and sickly young man, is rejected when he tries to enlist with the US army during World War II. He is offered the chance to serve his country through top-secret defense program, Operation: Rebirth, where he is injected with the super-soldier serum. Steve becomes an almost-perfect human being and armed with his indestructible shield goes on to become Captain America, fighting his nation’s evil enemies. After falling from a plane above the Atlantic Ocean in 1945 Rogers was frozen in suspended animation before being reawakened years later.

The Film: After a protracted casting process Chris Evans was eventually handed the role of Captain America and his alter-ego Steve Rogers. Try to forget about his Human Torch from the awful Fantastic Four movies, just watch Danny Boyle’s Sunshine and you’ll see this boy can act. Hugo Weaving is also in place to play Captain America’s arch-enemy Red Skull, whilst Gossip Girl’s Sebastian Stan will star as his sidekick Bucky.Emily Blunt has turned down a part as the film’s female lead (believed to be Peggy Carter) and the other actresses being considered are reportedly Keira Knightley and Alice Eve.

Captain America will be another piece of the jigsaw as Marvel moves towards 2012’s behemoth, The Avengers. The foundations for Captain America were laid in place in both The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man movies, with the Cap’s shield showing up in Tony Stark’s workshop whilst Tim Roth’s Emil Blonsky is injected with a type of super-soldier serum to become the Abomination. Look closely too in The Incredible Hulk’s deleted scenes and you might catch a glimpse of a frozen Captain America inside an Arctic glacier.

Thor

Played By: Chris Hemsworth

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Release Date: May 6th 2011

Character Background: The son of Odin, lord of the Gods of Asgard, Thor was the greatest warrior in Asgard. When he grew too headstrong Odin sought to teach him some humility, sending him to Earth in a mortal body without his memories. There he was Donald Blake, a partially disabled medical student who eventually opened up a private practice with Jane Foster – learning to be the humble man Odin had wished. He rediscovered his true identity when alien scouts visited Earth and he found a wooden cane which transformed into his old hammer Mjolnir as he transformed back into Thor. From then on he led a double life as Thor and Donald, later going on to join The Avengers.

The Film: Marvel made a bold move putting such a tent-pole movie in the hands of British thesp Branagh, he replaced Matthew Vaughn – thank goodness as he went off and made Kick-Ass. Branagh cast relative unknown Chris Hemsworth (Kirk’s father from the rebooted Star Trek) as the Norse God at the second time of asking, the Home and Away alumnus was given a no the first time he read for the part. The beautiful Natalie Portman will play Jane Foster, Knight of the realm Sir Anthony Hopkins will bring the gravitas as Thor’s daddy, Odin, whilst Tom Hiddleston, (Branagh’s former Wallander and Ivanov co-star) bagged the role of Loki, Thor’s adoptive brother and arch-nemesis.

According to Jeremy Renner – star of the Oscar winning The Hurt Locker – he is likely to play Hawkeye, The Avengers master archer, and will make a cameo a la Nick Fury at the end of Iron Man. This should set up his character for The Avengers movie too, a film Thor should play a huge part in.

Iron Man 2

Played By: Robert Downey Jr.

Director: Jon Favreau

Release Date: May 7th 2010

Character Background: The first installment saw arms dealer Tony Stark have his own weapons used against him in Afghanistan, leaving him with an electromagnet embedded in his chest keeping a piece of shrapnel out of his heart. After building a primitive version of the Iron Man suit he escapes, on his return vowing that his company will no longer produce weapons, instead developing the Iron Man technology. Obadiah Stane, Starks business partner, has far more sinister plans though and it is revealed he was behind the attack on Stark in an attempt to take over the company. Stane dons a suit, becoming Iron Monger, and the two battle with Stane eventually being killed. At the film’s conclusion Stark reveals to the press that he is Iron Man.

The Film: RDJ returns along with Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Don Cheadle replaces Terrence Howard as Rhodey who this time round will become War Machine. Mickey Rourke is playing the bad guy Whiplash whilst Sam Rockwell’s Justin Hammer will also be a rival to Tony Stark. Scarlett Johansson is on board to play Black Widow, another role that Emily Blunt turned down, this time due to a scheduling conflict. The trailers for the film, released next month, can be found at http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/paramount/ironman/.

It is extremely likely that Iron Man will be back for a third outing, but probably after The Avengers suggesting a 2013 release. It would be likely that Iron Man’s arch-rival Mandarin will be the villain that time around, with Favreau subtly laying the groundwork for the character in these first two installments.

The Avengers

Executive Producer: Jon Favreau

Release Date: May 4th 2012

The Film: We know for sure that Iron Man, War Machine, Thor, Loki, Nick Fury, Black Widow, Captain America will feature and that Hulk will be back in some form, whether Edward Norton will be involved is not yet known. Norton has said he’d be open to his Hulk being a hero or the villain, so it’ll be interesting to see how that pans out. Expect too that a lot of the peripheral characters from the aforementioned films to play a part or make cameos, the scale’s going to be epic.

Marvel also has some other projects on the go, I’m thinking Spider-Man, Deadpool and various X-Men films of course. There’s scope within all these projects to put in little teasing cameos to set up those future films, that also leaves the possibility that they will feature in any potential sequels to The Avengers. The truth is, the possibilities are endless – Marvel really has given themselves a fantastic opportunity here. Who knows what they’re gonna come up with.

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