Now, Marvel is a franchise and obviously franchises are built to last. For that reason Marvel has tried and succeeded at creating an overlapping story through all of their films, yet also stories primarily within the films as well. This kind of narrative where some answers (ones that effect the plot of the movie universe) are answered quicker than others (ones that only effect that single superheroes' movies) can make it tricky to keep track of what exactly we're waiting for. Marvel has released 9 movies up to this point, each with it's closures and cliff-hangers. Before Age of Ultron is released next year, you may wish to check back and see what exactly you should be expecting from the future of this series.
1.) The Leader / Doc Sampson
This is a pretty obvious one for it's brought up often on the internet. At the conclusion of The Incredible Hulk we got to see one of the central characters of the film undergo what seemed to be his transformation into The Leader, arguably the most important Hulk villain. After all, for a time we did believe him to have killed the Green Goliath. But ever since that film came to a close we have yet to see where our future Leader ended up. Many people though he would show up in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D at some point but that has yet to have happened. Will we see the return of this potentially vital villain? I hope so. He is insanely intelligent, and depending on circumstances can stand up to The Hulk in a fight. He could be a challenge far beyond Hulk as well, his intellect allowing him to stand up to the likes of Stark or Fury. Why waste a villain like that? We need to know where he is and what he's doing, if he's free or captured by S.H.I.E.L.D someplace, and most important: what he's planning.
Then there's Doc Sampson, played by Ty Burrell. Another character similar to The Leader, set up to play a vital role in the universe by "The Incredible Hulk" but left hanging. Where Leader could be a vital villain, Sampson could be a vital hero for our Avengers. Will he ever become the Sampson we know in the comics? Considering Ty is now a relatively strictly comedic actor, I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't show up again. But then again, that geeky bit that we know exists in him could call him back. Or they could recast the role to a more serious actor (who would look a bit more flattering with green hair).
2.) Where the hell is Red Skull?
Captain America and Red Skull engage in combat, only to have the Cosmic Cube steal the glory nearly immediately. I'd be lying if I said I was expecting a bit more. With the movie establishing that Red Skull could definitely stand up to Cap in a fight ( and basically no one can ) and that Skull is the evil madman we all hoped he would be, how could they just let him slip away? If both HYDRA and the Cosmic Cube, incredibly central parts to Skull's character, are going to be main points in the future of the series, we need the man himself to pop back in. Literally. I doubt I was the only one a little sad when he didn't show up in Winter Soldier, leaving me to hope he will show up again in the future to rally his HYDRA troops against S.H.I.E.L.D. Maybe the fact that Von Strucker has Loki's scepter could be leading into them tapping the Cosmic Cube's power and bringing him back? Perhaps Skull has been talking with Thanos and his men just like Loki had? Perhaps this will lead into the Master of Evil? We can hope.
3.) Black Widow
Gosh dang they really want to make us guess on this one. Little was said about the characters personal life in her debut appearance from Iron Man 2 and though slightly more was said in The Avengers, we still have little to nothing. While Winter Soldier continued that trend and opened us up to a salt's worth of more info on her past, we still are mostly in the dark. We know she worked for the KGB in the past, was raised up to be a spy from a young child, and was rescued from this career by Hawkeye and S.H.I.E.L.D (though it happened the other way around in the comics). We also know her father seems to be someone vital to the enemy side. But what did she do in the past? How exactly did she meet Hawkeye and why did S.H.I.E.L.D trust her enough to let her join? Will we see her past catch up to her? Supposedly we will learn more in Age of Ultron, though that's a small while away. Let's just cross our fingers they introduce the "forbidden love" romance between her and Bucky like in the comics. Not even sure if I'm joking or not on that one.
4.) Where does Tony go from here?
So Tony blew up all his suits and lost his arc reactor. Aside from his genius intellect, this leaves him as a relatively normal guy. Yet he is still showing up in Avengers 2. And 3. And possibly Iron Man 4. And rumored to be in Guardians of the Galaxy (though I don't believe it). So how does he stand up to villains in all of those? He has to build more suits of course! But does that not somewhat destroy the purpose of Iron Man 3's ending where he destroys all of them as a testament of his love? We know he has a Hulkbuster suit and a new Mark something-or-another suit in Age of Ultron, so we know it must be true. Yet what is his reasoning to make more suits after he so dashingly gives them up? Hopefully because he's just somewhat of an a**hole and got bored so he decided to make some new ones. Or possibly to deal with a rampaging Hulk.
5.) Those twins, eh?
I really don't have to elaborate on this much at all. Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are locked up in a HYDRA prison/lab someplace and are going to be used against our heroes. The one HUGE piece of the puzzle missing from this is how they got their powers. They aren't mutants, they aren't Inumans, they (hopefully) don't have Kree blood going through them. So how did they end up this way? What I'm rooting for is that Marvel takes the risk and goes as close along the Mutant storyline as they can, of course leaving out connections to Magneto. It would be pretty trick any other way. Or maybe they were stolen from a family by HYDRA who then used the power of the cosmic cube to bless the kids with powers, where they could therefore use them as living weapons. This would explain Super Speed and however you describe Witch's powers, yet stay true to the plot of the series. I think I'll root for that, actually.
Speaking of Winter Soldier post-credits scenes: BUCKY. Yep, Bucky. What's that little rascal off doing? After his educational trip to the Smithsonian for some good old studying on himself ( which you should all read about the character too, he has a pretty cool history ) where does he go from there? Could continue being a mercenary. Could help out Cap and the Avengers. Could go on a revenge quest against HYDRA for what they did to him. No matter which way he goes, we know we'll see him at least 7 more times. Think that's a lot? Apparently we'll be seeing Falcon until the day the sun falls from the sky and kills us all.
6.) Thanos...do I need to elaborate?
This guy has some pretty sick plans up his sleeves, if er...he had sleeves. I wish he had sleeves so we'd have to see less of his creepy pink skin. Anyways! He has some plans going on. After using Loki and the Chitauri to nearly wipe out all of New York ( where else would he want to attack? ) and then moving onto some plans in Guardians of the Galaxy, we know he's up to some villain-y stuff. According to Marvel high-ups they consider him to be a "final act" villain and that he's in for the long run, up until the conclusion of this story arc with the gems. This means, with him probably being the overall big bad, he has a plan of awesome proportions. Lets hope it lives up to the mystery.
7.) So Loki is Odin
Though some people may be intent on throwing out their own personal theories on what Dark World's ending meant, we should all probably accept that Loki is Odin. But that doesn't mean Odin is dead, per say. With Thor 3 currently churning through the creative infernos, the Ragnarok storyline heading the list of plots, and today's news that Loki may be getting himself a lady love ( if it's now Enchantress I'm going to throw a nerdy fit ) we are most likely going to see him soon. Marvel has yet to say what movie is going along with Cap 3 in 2016, but due to the past pattern of pairing him up with Thor, we can hope that's when we get our next trip to Asgard. Though we need one question answered before anything else. Does this leave Loki as good or evil? He has what he wanted this whole time, to be king. Now that he finally has that, will he try to actually be a good king or an evil tyrant as usual? I'm kind of hoping for some good Loki action, but it would be more true to the comics if he stayed evil. Either way, I'm in.
8.) What are you guys going to do about that bomb?
So the world peace council shot a bomb at New York and so far no one has really stepped up to call them out on it. Let's hope someone does soon, because that was kind of a d*ck move. I doubt Iron Man, Cap, Fury, or anyone would really stand for that considering how many lives it risked. With it having been left out of all post-Avengers films, let's hope they face their consequences in Age of Ultron.
9.) The other guys
So we have Namor, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, and Moon Knight. Yet we don't actually have them. We know S.H.I.E.L.D is at least monitoring Atlantis and Wakanda and that they are aware of the other two's presence. But when will they actually show up? While the first 3 should no doubt show up in their own movies or an Avengers film, Moon Knight could really go to either spectrum of the screen-size world ( I mean movie or TV ). Personally I'd rather see Moon Knight Defenders of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D because they could really open up with him onscreen, and if he got an episode or two focusing on him, we could introduce him to audiences in a way that will show how cool he really is. Batman with issues, right? With the Agents of Defenders trying to track him down or work alongside him, it could create and interesting dynamic. And I couldn't really see him fitting in along Hulk or Iron Man like the others could.
So what is Zodiac? We know Agent Carter tried to deal with it before SHIELDS inception, we know it's bad, and we know the bad dudes were with it. Will Zodiac show up in films though? Most likely it will be saved for the Agent Carter TV series, as a way to tie it into the one-off and provide a season-long overlapping plot. Yet we still gotta know how much of Zodiac it actually is. Will it be the person or some kind of weapon? If it's a person will it be the Zodiac related to Fury? If it is Fury's brother ( or relative, considering the time gap ) it could be an awesome dynamic.
Did I miss anything that you guys think needs to be explained in future films? If I missed anything, shout it out in the comments!
This has been Jay's Jab.