It looks like it's a Merry Christmas for Marvel fans. Thanks to the Albuquerque Journal (via AICN), it seems that the plot of 2012's biggest tentpole, "The Avengers," will possibly revolve around, or at least involve, the conflict between two alien races, the Kree and the Skrulls.
In the comics, the Kree are an essentially humanoid race who fought over interstellar technology with the murderous, shape-shifting Skrulls, particularly when the Skrulls created the all-powerful MacGuffin known as the Cosmic Cube. Both used Earth as a battleground, with the Kree capturing and experimenting with human-Kree hybrids, and the Skrulls shapeshifting and assimilating into the highest levels of power in global governments.
It's already confirmed by the Comic Con footage that "Captain America," which, like "Thor," leads into "The Avengers," features the Cosmic Cube, though it is being referred to as the "Tesseract." And Marvel has teased a possible intergalactic threat before, with Comic Con crowds catching a quick glimpse of a prop that looked suspiciously like popular Marvel plot device the Infinity Gauntlet, a glove that contains the Infinity Gems -- each one of which is capable of dramatically reshaping the chemistry of the universe.
There's no confirmation on where the newspaper found this information, though it does confirm that "Thor" and "Captain America" will feature stories that play heavily into "The Avengers," suggesting that twisted Nazi Red Skull's (Hugo Weaving) plans for the Tesseract in World War II could spill over from the latter, and the villainous Loki (Tom Hiddleston) of the former could figure into the "Avengers" narrative as a possible manipulator on a slightly more cosmic level.
What we do know is that major players in "The Avengers" include Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). Could there possibly be another big role, that of Captain Mar-Vell? The Kree superhero, and one of Marvel's more beloved cult characters, was a major player in the Kree-Skrull conflict, suggesting one more costumed hero for the mix in "The Avengers." Would the company then use the character, also known as Captain Marvel, as another possible spinoff? If they did so, it would certainly be a way to undercut Warner Bros. long-in-development project "Shazam," also dependent on a hero named Captain Marvel. Sneaky sneaky, Kevin Feige.
"The Avengers" is expected to shoot next spring in New Mexico (the spot where Thor lands when banished from Asgard in the coming "Thor"), with stopovers in Michigan and New York; the Big Apple is rumored to be where most of the movie takes place. As for what action we have in store for us, who knows, but it certainly sounds more expensive than what is rumored to be a fairly affordable movie. "The Avengers" is a big deal in that not only are franchises for "Iron Man," "Captain America," "Thor" and others at stake, but it will be the first Marvel release from Disney, who ponied up $115 million for the rights to the spinoff film and "Iron Man 3," with Disney sacrificing 8% of "Avengers" profits to Paramount. So no pressure, Disney.