It’s likely impossible to avoid at this point, but in case you’ve been living under a rock, reviews for “Thor: The Dark World” have arrived (read ours here). That means related press for all the cast and hundreds of online journals grilling Marvel Chief Kevin Feige for morsels of details about "The Avengers" sequel and what the hell is going on with Marvel’s Phase 3 plans (as of right now, it’s a lot of carved out release dates with no movies actually announced).
Though to be fair, we should be completely transparent. What we’ve “learned” is relative. Feige is pretty cagey and wouldn’t confirm very much. But it does leave folks plenty of room to speculate, something many Marvel fans seem to be happy to do. Here’s a few highlights from the Kevin Feige/’Dark World’ press tour so far.
1.Will Joss Whedon come back for "The Avengers 3"? Feige gives a classic non-committal answer.
“It’s still being determined,” he told ScreenRant of Whedon’s role in “The Avengers 3” and Marvel’s Phase 3 plans (his contract ends summer 2015). “All of his efforts right now are in what he’s doing for us primarily, obviously, writing and prepping 'Age of Ultron' but also in reading the drafts of the films in Phase 2, watching early cuts to inform him where the characters are going to end up in the beginning of 'Age of Ultron' and also to get his input and his wisdom into all of these. But right now it’s all about leading up to 'Age of Ultron.' ”
2.Fanboy dreams of an “Avengers” meets “X-Men” crossover? Don’t count on it.
"In terms of an X-Men crossover, there are certainly no plans now—I never say never to things like that, but I don't think it'll be anytime soon," Feige said via CBM, joking that it'll be Marvels’ "Phase 27" before we see that happen. I.e. There’s a snowball’s chance in hell.
3.James Spader is playing Ultron, “The Avengers 2” villain, but he’ll likely be doing more than just voice-work. Meaning motion capture? Yep.
“Well, I think it will be more than a voice role—we’ll be capturing his face and his body to create a whole performance,” Feige told the Huffington Post. “He’s a very unique and incredibly exciting and unpredictable actor. And Ultron in the comics is a robot, but what’s cool about him in the comics—and certainly how Joss Whedon is interpreting him for the movie—is that he is much more than just a robot. That he’s infused with much character. And I don’t want to say too much, but you can imagine James Spader will be very dynamic in his portrayal of this character. … We did not hire James Spader to do a robot voice.”
4. No longer owned by 20th Century Fox, a Marvel “Daredevil” movie is coming… eventually.
“We’re trying to figure out what to do with Daredevil now,” Feige told Bleeding Cool about being cautious with the characters and not rushing them out the door simply because they own the rights (frankly, a very smart move). “Punisher could show up at one point. You know, once we get characters back into the Marvel fold we don’t want to do something right away, we want to do the smart thing at the smart time.”
5. Marvel’s Phase 3 plans may not be announced until Comic-Con 2014.
Marvel have three release dates planted in the ground. Two dates for 2016 and one for 2017. What are those films/characters? Well, Marvel and Feige don’t even seem to be 100% sure at this time. “It’s all in flux. Well, not all in flux, but specific titles for those dates, we are honing in on them,” he told /Film. “It probably wouldn’t be earlier than Comic-Con to announce that, but perhaps. It’s a long way away.” C’mon Kevin, give them something. “Dr. Strange,” “Hulk,” maybe another ‘Guardians’ movie, “Thor 3”?
“I think it’s important, in an ideal world, that we have an additional story on a pre-existing character and then introduce a new character. So next year is ‘The Winter Solider,’ ‘Guardians’…Year after that, ‘Age of Ultron,’ ‘Ant-Man.’ That’s a nice rhythm. It might not always be like that," he continued. "I mean [this year was] ‘Iron Man 3’ and ‘The Dark World,’ so it won’t always be like that necessarily, but that’s certainly something to aim for. So we have additional stories of the existing characters in development and the new ones, all of which you’ve heard before.”
“All of which you’ve heard before" does suggest “Dr. Strange,” “Black Panther,” etc. but none of that is obviously concrete. By the way, in case you’re wondering about Feige’s own Marvel contract and how long it extends for? The Marvel chief told Collider he thinks he’ll be sticking around for the foreseeable future. “I think it’ll be a while. At least through the next phase or so.”
Additionally, if you want some spoilers about the “Thor: The Dark World” post-credits scene, you can read about them here. “Thor: The Dark World” hits theaters on November 8th. You can read our review here and stay tuned for our own exclusive interview with Feige tomorrow.