It all started in 2008 with Iron Man. The cinematic universe was born. The same year, The Incredible Hulk was released, with Tony Stark appearing in the end, indicating a shared universe. After that came Iron Man 2, which introduced Black Widow, War Machine, and further explained Nick Fury and his mysterious Avengers Initiative. In Thor, Thor was obviously introduced, and a small bowman called Barton was subtly introduced in a cameo scene. Captain America: The First Avenger completed the team with Steve Rogers, and introduced the plot device for the Avengers film, which was first seen in Thor's Post-Credit Scene. Thus we have the first phase (Phase 1: Avengers Assembled) in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which culminated with the 2012 film: Marvel's The Avengers.
However, it was with careful planning and many cameos, references and easter eggs, did we get the fully assembled team in the film.
Hawkeye's Cameo in Thor, introduced him to audiences by the time of Avengers. Though just in case they didn't get the hint, he was also the first member of the team we meet in the film.
What I'm getting at, is that each member of the team was seen before they all met up in Marvel's The Avengers. We had in mind a history of each character and some of their previous exploits. This was good, because we didn't have to waste any screen time establishing characters.
Now, however, Marvel now has the first problem with its continuity. The problem is the continuity itself. Now that we all know these characters exist in the same universe, we can't help asking ourselves: "Well, what about the Avengers? Where are the others?" We will now always know that there is a continuity. For example, in Iron Man 3, the president being kidnapped only brings Iron Man to save him. That's a pretty big deal, where was SHIELD all this time and their intel and weapons? One hellcarrier swooping in might have saved Iron Man's mansion.
Thor: The Dark World follows an alien (Malekith) and his plans to unite all the nine realms in darkness, with himself as the ruler. Thor teams up with Loki (the other star of the Marvel films and thus far the only reappearing villain) to stop him and a battle ensues that spreads all over Asgard, earth, and the rest of the nine realms. While the space battles wouldn't have drawn too much attention from earth, the battle that takes place in London should definitely have caught the government's attention. (Who in turn should have sent SHIELD. I mean, they were on response when Loki shows up in Germany! But a Dark Elf portal and Thor in London? No way.)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier does not have the continuity problem. For me, that's one reason why this movie ranks higher than some of the others. It follows Captain America on secret spy missions. This is stuff other people don't know about. Black Widow and Nick Fury are all there (and the addition of Falcon). And there are references to almost every member of the Avengers team plus a few others (like Doctor Strange). Tony Stark and Bruce Banner are mentioned several times, and while I don't remember exactly, I believe I caught a Thor reference too. Hawkeye was due for a mention, but the dialogue was cut, so Hawkeye's whereabouts in the film remains a mystery to us.
So now (following Guardians of the Galaxy) we have the final film of the second phase of the cinematic universe: Avengers: Age of Ultron. It has been confirmed that all the heroes from the previous film will be making it to the long awaited sequel.
So what have they all been doing?
Iron Man has been saving the president, teaming up with Iron Patriot (formerly War Machine) and blowing up his own suits. (Also getting an impossible surgery done to remove his arc-reactor.
Thor has been teaming up with his evil brother, coping with his mother's death, battling Dark Elves, saving earth and the nine realms, and reuniting with Jane Foster.
Captain America and Black Widow have been working for Nick Fury and SHIELD, yet among their many tasks, they find time to battle a few ghosts from Cap's past (Winter Soldier, Arnim Zola, and Hydra in general) and team up with Falcon (a retired member of the US Military).
But what of Hulk and Hawkeye?????
Well, last time we saw Bruce Banner, he was "listening" to Tony's Monologue concerning the events of Iron Man 3. Well what has the Green Goliath been doing? (Besides getting a hair cut?)
There was no hint at his whereabouts during any of the films. No clue as to what he was doing, and no idea who he might be fighting/helping.
The more I think about it, the more irritating this gets, since The Incredible Hulk was released 7 (count them: SEVEN) years ago. And there has been ample time for Hulk to receive a second film if Marvel was concerned about it.
If you count the number of films in each phase thus far, you will find Phase 2 is one film less than Phase 1. The reasons for this are a) Iron Man had 2 movies in Phase 1. and b.) Hulk didn't get a sequel but everyone else did.
So no Hulk sequel? Alright, fine. I can deal with that. But the fact that no one mentions where or what he's doing? He's a giant green monster! Who DOESN'T want to know where he is? I feel like SHIELD throwing the Hulk at one of the three hellcarriers would have made things a lot simpler in Cap 2.
Now, Marvel must explain what he (and Hawkeye) have been up to. This might take a simple "I was on a secret mission" for Hawkeye, but Hulk definitely has been around. Even if he was just doing doctor work he had to have heard about the Dark Elves or the president's kidnapping (and he definitely heard about SHIELD). So, now, we must use some sort of Back story and explanation in Avengers 2, wasting valuable screen time we need for other things. (Like Ultron, or the three new comers: Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and The Vision.)
If the other phase 2 films had at least hinted to the whereabouts of these guys in one line of dialogue, none of this would have to happen.
So what about Hawkeye?
Now that SHIELD is done, what about him? Did he have to fight Hydra too?
Granted, Hawkeye isn't the most important factor in Phase 2, and I may be overdoing this, but Joss Whedon has specifically said that Hulk and Hawkeye will have large roles in Avengers 2.
Hawkeye will have a new costume as well, as can be seen by the set photos. This film, may be pivotal in getting Hawkeye his own film. Avengers 1 didn't really do much with him, but if can really see him in action and hear some of the signature Hawkeye quips and lines, I know that fans will be wanting to see him again (and hopefully before Avengers 3).
A Black Widow and Hawkeye movie would be great, and since SHIELD is out of commission, they aren't working for anyone else anymore. Why not have a team-up film? Nick Fury could tag along and I wouldn't complain. Better yet, introduce Mockingbird in a Hawkeye film. How cool would that be?
Hulk is secured for Avengers 2 as well, as the concept art below suggests he might be fighting Iron Man.
Now what of the three new members?
The Vision will be played by Paul Bettany, who voices Jarvis in the Iron Man films.
Not sure of what's going to happen here. Will Jarvis take on the form of a hero? Will Iron Man create the Vision?
Like I've said, there is a much needed space for backstory in this film. Why waste it on Hawkeye and Hulk?
Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver follow (sort of) Phase 1's way of doing things. Both appear at the mid-credits scene in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. This was meant as a tease and alert to whats coming. But it still introduces them, and shows that they are held captive by Baron Wolfgang von Strucker (Gotta love that name) and HYDRA (which was sort of formerly known as SHIELD).
This is on the same level (if not better due to the fact that the scene was devoted solely for the purpose of their introduction) of the Hawkeye and Nick Fury cameos in Thor and the end of Iron Man respectively.
The set photos below show them getting in on the action.
The cinematic universe has a pattern, that when its broken, is fairly noticeable. Hawkeye and Hulks' absences from the Phase 2 films stand out, and will need explaining. While it won't affect the film, it might take time away from the other much needed explanations. They need to plan for this. The Hawkeye explanation is an important one. Hulk even more so. Isn't SHIELD constantly monitoring him?
Leaving out details of the key characters and what their activities consist of might very well led to bigger problems for the MCU. I for one don't want to see that happen any time soon.
Also Read: Why Hulk will get a sequel.
So What do you all think?
Am I being unreasonable for asking questions like Where? and Why Not?
Or should Marvel definitely have taken the time to explain this?