If you’re like me, you’ve watched the Age of Ultron trailer about a dozen times, (okay, a couple of dozen times), you’ve dissected every frame, and read every article on Movie Pilot. Now we’re ready to look beyond James Spader’s Ultron badassery, and start guessing what Marvel is planning next. The trailer, in typical teaser fashion, leaves us with more questions than answers.
1. What Happens in Age of Ultron?
First of all, expect to see the Avengers united and kicking ass (according to Latino Review). Much like Dark World and Winter Soldier, it will begin with our heroes (and their handy new robot friends) wrapping up a battle. Let’s assume the Avengers have been tracking threats the past few months, fighting to remove HYRDA from the playing board. Baron von Strucker: gone in the first 10 minutes of the movie.
Just when they get ultra-cocky and start having black tie parties, Ultron emerges and pees in their Pepsi. We saw that in the trailer.
Judging by The neck Grab and Hulkbuster fight, the Avengers aren’t getting along so well with Tony Stark in Age of Ultron. This group is fractured, laying the groundwork for some kind of war that is less than civil. I desperately want to see these heroes fight each other, because Marvel has only produced one interesting villain and he’s busy ruling Asgard right now.
2. Spider-Man Credits Tag?
I don’t know, I kinda think Spider-Man might show up in the post credits tag of Age of Ultron. Who knows how they’ll shoehorn him into continuity, but Sony and Marvel would stand to make a ton of money from the reunification, so it’ll happen. Rumors that Sony is “waiting to see how the Sinister Six movie performs” are ridiculous. Spider-Man producer Avi Arad is a smart guy. He knows that the only thing worse than a Spider-Man movie with too many villains is a Spider-Man movie without Spider-Man in it.
I know that Sony and Avi Arad, keep saying that Spidey won't be in the Avengers, but that's just what they would say if they were going to surprise us!
Chances are the tag could be something as simple as Tony sitting in the broken remnants of Avengers tower, and a familiar wall crawler lowering down from the ceiling. “What did I miss?” Cut to black.
3. What Will Happen in Agents of SHIELD?
I’m worried how Age of Ultron is going to effect Agents of SHIELD. The show has finally hit its stride, spicing up the team with additions like Mockingbird and ex-husband Lance Hunter. Before Winter Soldier, SHIELD was a boring, unstoppable government agency. Now they’re plucky outsiders fighting a shadow war on global terror. For once, tying into a Marvel movie helped a franchise.
This hasn’t always been the case. Iron Man 2 was crippled by its poorly paced Avengers tie-ins. Captain America: First Avenger would have been a much better movie if Cap had just fought Nazis, not super-powered laser Nazis with a magic space box. We tend to forget this because the Avengers was so awesome—but it’s true.
Remember how awkward AOS’s tie-in to Thor: Dark World was? We could have seen Coulson and his team in Greenwich, fighting aliens behind the scenes while Thor was dropping in and out of realities. Instead we got…what? Did they find a staff or something? Yeah, that’s right: they took a page out of the Marvel playbook and had everybody chase an object. I’m glad the show is so much better this season and has advanced their storytelling…oh wait.
I hope they can make the tie-in feel organic. An army of evil robots could be really cool on SHIELD, if ABC paid for the visual effects (which they couldn’t afford, especially after the trailer leak killed their AOU ratings bump). Or, maybe SHIELD and HYDRA would find themselves unlikely allies against a genocidal robot army.
A less organic crossover: the week after Age of Ultron comes out the team members are going to be all like, “Boy that robot army sure was crazy, huh? Good thing the Avengers defeated them before Tuesday night, huh? Back to finding shiny alien stuff.”
5. Civil War, and When Will Cap Die?
The other two Captain America films took place at the end of Phases 1 and 2, leading us directly into the Avengers movies. But Cigil War is set directly after Ultron fractures the Avengers. Whatever happens in Cap 3 is sure to send shockwaves throughout Phase 3.
Ever since Variety leaked that RDJ was nearly signed for Cap 3, the Civil War has caused more "will they/won’t they" speculation than Ross and Rachel (props to Movie Pilot for getting there first). Remember, there's always been friction between these two:
We’ll never see THE Civil War, because Marvel--
Ahem...Marvel doesn’t have the rights to Fantastic Four or Spider-Man. However, the groundwork is laid for a heavy Civil-War type event. Ultron devastates the world. The World Security Council’s usual peacekeeping force, SHIELD, is gone. It makes sense that the WSC would require meta-humans to register and work for them.
Now it’s easier to see why RDJ is in Cap 3. We’ve heard for months that Cap was going to start his own Avengers team after Age of Ultron, probably consisting of Hawkeye, Falcon, Black Widow, and Unpowered Heroes To be Named Later. As Cap and his band of misfits hunt for the Winter Soldier, Tony hunts them across the globe.
This links up nicely to Agents of SHIELD, where the military (led by Colonel "Old-Timey Western Photo Fake Mustache" Talbot) is hunting down anyone special, whether they’re with SHIELD or HYDRA. Tony and Talbot could work together to reel in anyone with superpowers.
I think Steve Rogers is going to “die” in Cap 3. In the comic books, his martyrdom helped bring the heroes back together. In the MCU, it will break them farther apart. A reformed Winter Soldier takes on the Captain America mantle, and continues the fight against Tony and Big Government.
6. Where’s Thor?
After Age of Ultron, Thor is done with Earth and goes home. For that to happen, Jane Foster has to be out of the picture. Natalie Portman has said she has no plans to be in AOU, and there are rumors that she and Thor break up between Dark World and Age of Ultron. Gosh I hope that’s not true. As much as I want to see their “chemistry” brought to an abrupt end, it would be much better for Thor’s character if Ultron killed Jane. That makes the movie personal for Thor, and for us. It would also explain the Tony Stark neck grab. Temperamental, irresponsible, interesting Thor is back.
Without Jane to keep him on Earth, a heartbroken Thor goes home to deal with his dickhead brother and imminent Ragnarok. I have a feeling Marvel doesn’t care what happens to this franchise. Thor is less popular than the other Avengers...and his evil stepbrother.
7. Where’s Hulk?
He’s in space baby, meeting the Guardians of the Galaxy. Marvel’s not gonna trust him with his own movie again, especially a VFX-heavy story like Planet Hulk. Thing is, he can’t be on Earth for Phase 3, because it would upset the balance of the Civil War.
So the Guardians will either meet Hulk or Banner, then be surprised when he turns into his counterpart. Hulk and Drax talk shop. Bruce tells Star-Lord how Earth is doing, and that his Awesome Mix Tape is #1 on iTunes. Personally, I’d rather see Adam Warlock or Nova be introduced in Guardians, but my guess is Banner is space bound.
8. Avengers 3 Without Cap, Thor and Hulk?
Rumors started circulating a few months ago that Avengers 3 would be split into two movies, with Avengers 3 not featuring Thor or Captain America. Now those rumors are beginning to make sense. The Civil War conflict spreads across the globe. Both sides recruit new Phase 3 heroes like Black Panther and Dr. Strange. Tony leads a new team of unproven recruits, like War Machine, Ant-Man, Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver.
(As a side note, an important part of Civil War was Tony swaying Peter Parker to his side. The Hulk could fill this role. Banner’s natural inclination is to distrust the government, so he’s torn between sides. Still, I think Hulk is too powerful to have on the game board. Thor is too, and that’s why he’ll be all like, “what fools you mortals be,” and go back home to bed Lady Sif and start a love triangle with the Enchantress.)
Creating a mostly-new Avengers team allows Marvel to A) save Chris Evans and Hemsworth’s last contracted films for later, and B) eases the transition to a new team. If we had a completely new Avengers roster beginning in Avengers 4, they would have felt like also-rans.
9. The Infinty War
There’s been much debate over Civil War vs Infinity War. How could Marvel do both? Well, the Infinity Gauntlet story works in 3 phases:
1. Thanos gathers infinity stones, then becomes God.
2. Thanos kills a few trillion people by snapping his fingers.
3. Heroes Crossover to Stop Thanos.
Imagine a Civil War movie in Avengers Infinity War: Part 1, and periodically we cut away to different locations in space. Thanos finally decides to get his lazy ass off his floating space chair and do something for himself, instead of delegating to incompetent demi-gods with their own agendas.
First, Asgard: Thanos steals the gauntlet and the tesseract, which will allow him to travel anywhere in the cosmos. Then he goes to Xandar to destroy the Nova Corps (dying is what the Nova Corps do best, after all), and seizes the Power gem. Only one member of the Nova Corps survives: Richard Ryder, a.k.a. Nova.
On Earth, the Civil War has reached its height. Heroes are pummeling each other in the middle of Times Square. Giant ships are falling from the sky, because Marvel loves to see that in their third acts. When suddenly:
Thanos arrives, with a simple message: Half of all life in the universe will be eradicated. He is the new God. Never have the heroes been so divided, never has the need for unity been so great. Cut to credits.
Post credits Tag: Captain America hooked up to a table, being fed Magic Kree blood by Phil Coulson. Director Coulson couldn’t let his hero die when the universe needs him the most.
Now we’re ready for Avengers Infinity War, Part 2. Cap is resurrected somehow. We’re doing space stuff, so Roll Call: Avengers+Thor+Hulk+Guardians of the Galaxy. All hands on deck, it’s gonna be EPIC!
What do you think? Am I close, or out of my mind? Tweet @ryanarey and let me know.