A while ago, we speculated on the possibilities for Marvel beyond Phase 2 and how the way they've marketed and branded their Marvel Cinematic Universe has changed the face of Hollywood as we know it. Huge, right? The possibilities are endless. We've already seen the incredible global phenomenon that has been Marvel's Phase 1 series, with fans around the world even more pumped for Phase 2.
But what if I were to tell you that what Marvel has been planning all along is even bigger than any of us could have dreamed? Simply put...they weren't joking when they said they wanted to recreate their Marvel universe on screen as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And the MCU includes all of them. ALL of them, not just the Marvel superheroes and villains that operate within the realm of Sony separated from the ones that are owned by Fox separated by the ones that are still owned by Marvel itself.
Check it out: A few months ago, we picked up on the quickly-killed rumors that both Spider-Man and the X-Men could potentially be in The Avengers: Age Of Ultron, with some readers thinking it was awesome, but more shooting it down as a possibility because it's up to the studios and everyone knows the studios don't play nicely together when it comes to their respective properties.
Or do they? We've long thought here that those rumors swirling -- the ones that Marvel Studios would be teaming up with both Sony and Fox to create a giant Marvel Cinematic universe with each studio still maintaining the rights and creative development of each franchise they own -- were true, but all of them obviously crossing over and working together in a way that will create a much larger universe (and one more true to the Marvel comic book world) than we'd ever imagined.
The folks over at ComicBook.com sure seem to think so, too. They've pointed out the first bit of evidence that could support this whole crazy theory. Have you seen the trailer for Gameloft's Iron Man 3 video game? If not, you should, if only for the interesting little Easter egg hidden: Directly across from an A.I.M. billboard (Advanced Idea Mechanics, ya know) sits an Oscorp Industries billboard. And not just any Oscorp logo, but the same logo that was used in The Amazing Spider-Man, under Sony Pictures.
The studios teaming up, it makes sense. Perfect sense, actually. If there is one thing that Disney does better than anyone else, it's branding. And the merchandising and branding possibilities are endless (literally endless) if every single character is allowed to be in play rather than limiting them to the specific characters owned by each individual studio. It's a win-win situation for all involved: Disney/Marvel gets massive exposure and revenue from every bit of merchandising that goes out into the world, while Sony and Fox get free marketing for their respective characters that show up in each other's films, along with double the audience exposure. With the way things are now, you get the idea there will be limitations: "It would be awesome if they could do a New Avengers-style arc where Spider-Man and Wolverine show up as part of the Avengers but..." and then we bump up against that wall that is the point at which the rights of one studio break off and another begins.
But if these rumors are true? There are no limitations. There are no walls. Anything is possible, with characters hopping back and forth into each other's storylines and movies to create a stronger fabric of the Marvel cosmos. Do I smell a Civil War coming? You better believe I do. We already saw the fractures starting between Captain America and Iron Man over personality and ideological differences in The Avengers.
So, I'm calling it now (myself and our resident comic book guru, Will, that is): We're going to see 's Spider-Man show up in The Avengers 2. Even if it's just for one of Marvel's famous cameos to set the scene for the next phase of the MCU, he'll pop up somewhere. Count on it. Is this a very, very slim possibility based on the evidence we've seen thus far? Absolutely. But as we've already seen from Marvel, they are all about the tie-ins and teases. With this giant, expanded universe looking more and more likely, what could be a more logical tie-in than to bring either Spidey or a mutant into the fold?
Nothing. The answer is "nothing".
What do you think, Moviepilots? Do you think we'll see our web-slinging wallcrawler team up with the Avengers, or am I hitting the bottle a little too hard? Let us know in the comments. I guess we'll all find out if my nerd fantasies will be fulfilled in two years (Gah, FOREVER LONG) on May 1st, 2015 when it hits theaters. Until then, click [[follow]] and we'll keep you updated.