So, it's finally happened.
Marvel has, after years of us waiting with baited breath, rapt attention and general overexcitement, finally announced just...all of the movies. We're now set to see The Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Doctor Strange and the Inhumans hit the screen in the next few years, in addition to next year's Ant-Man.
Which is all awesome, obviously.
But it also raises one giant, raging, red-headed question:
Where are the Black Widow and The Hulk?
And - specifically - their long-awaited solo movies?
Sure, we've got a brand new female lead in the form of Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel, and sure, we'll be heading back to space in Inhumans and Guardians of the Galaxy 2, but that's...just not quite the same.
For all the awesomeness that's now been announced, it's hard not to wish that we were going to get to see a Black Widow solo movie, with Scarlett Johansson kicking ass all over the place, and another chance to watch the Hulk smashing everything, only this time for a whole movie.
AND, if they aren't going to be getting their own movies, where are we going to see them, anyway?
Oh, That's Where...
Well, thankfully - before it all gets too upsetting to deal with - Marvel supremo Kevin Feige has an answer for us. Speaking after Marvel's recent major slate announcement, the Marvel Studios head honcho (and geek deity) was asked about the absence of the two heroes, and his response was...reassuring.
Feige Talks... Black Widow
“Well, frankly, as I said in the presentation, it’s about bringing new characters to the screen. Black Widow couldn’t be more important as an Avenger, herself. And like Hulk, the Avengers films will be the films where they play a primary role. Her part in Avengers: Age of Ultron is very, very big. And further develops and further enhances her character. The plans that we have for her throughout the rest of the Avengers saga is very, very big, and linchpin, in fact, to those films. So instead of taking her out [of] there, or instead of doing a prequel, which we haven’t done yet, [we're] continuing the forward momentum of the continuity of the cinematic universe of which Widow is a key, key part."
The crucial part of all that?
"The plans that we have for her throughout the rest of the Avengers saga is very, very big, and linchpin, in fact, to those films."
Which means that a) Natasha'll be with us for a good while yet (unless Feige is elaborately lying to us all) and b) she's likely to be a central part of both the Civil War plotline, and the Infinity War beyond it.
Feige Talks...The Hulk
If Black Widow is the lynchpin of the MCU, though, what about The Hulk? Well, revealed Feige, when asked about Hulk's absence from the upcoming movies:
“I wouldn’t say Hulk is absent from the timeline. I would say Hulk is going to appear in many of those movies, particularly all those Avengers movies leading up to 2019 in Infinity War...Mark Ruffalo is on board for all those films, and we’re excited to bring him to all those films. What happens with a standalone Hulk film? I’m going to say what I would have said about Black Panther last week or Captain Marvel the week before that, or Doctor Strange the week before that, or Guardians of the Galaxy two years ago, or Ant-Man ten years ago, we’ll see. We’d love to do it. We’d love to find a place to put it, but right now, Hulk will be appearing, with his friends, in the other films.”
So, he'll be back, throughout the Avengers movies - and, from the sounds of it, in at least one other Marvel movie.
The main question then being - which one'll it be?
Which All Means...What, Exactly?
Well, firstly, that we shouldn't hold our breath for a Hulk solo movie before Phase Four (and, so, until at least 2020, most likely) - and that the likelihood of seeing a Black Widow movie anytime soon (if at all) seems awfully small indeed.
On the flip side, though, it also sounds as though Feige and the Marvel team have a pretty darned comprehensive idea of what all of their heroes are going to get up to over the next five years - even the ones who haven't got their own movie.
So, that's...actually kind of awesome, then? We get to see Captain Marvel, Black Panther and Doctor Strange come to the MCU (and hopefully kick-start their own franchises), while still getting our regular dose of our old favorite heroes in the team-up sections of those same movies.
Here's the big question, though: What do you guys think?
Black Widow and The Hulk NOT getting solo movies - you OK with it?