It's not quite the news many of us were hoping for, but from the sounds of Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige's latest interview, our chances of seeing Carol Danvers, a.k.a. Captain Marvel, in Avengers: Age of Ultron are more-or-less zero.
On the plus side, though, Feige also revealed that we're set to see a whole lot of superpowered characters from previous Marvel movies cameo in Age of Ultron. Better still, he even confirmed that there is, in actual fact, an alternative mystery cameo from a female character - one that, from the sounds of it, we haven't worked out yet.
First up, though:
There'll Be No Captain Marvel in Age of Ultron
As EW put it, as part of their interview with Feige:
"rumors of Captain Marvel getting an introduction are false, Feige promises"
Which...is pretty much as close to conclusive as we're likely to get.
For any fellow members of the Carol Corps reading this - there is still a glimmer of hope. Technically, Feige has only confirmed that Captain Marvel won't be getting an introduction - which doesn't technically stop Carol Danvers herself, in her pre-Cap form, from making an appearance.
So we can still dream...
On a more positive note, Feige's other comments may just make up for the potential disappointment of Carol's absence. Y'see:
There ARE Still a Whole Bunch of Cameos
As Feige pointed out to EW:
"the movie, out May 1, will include many other superpowered characters seen in previous films, including a few surprises"
Which is awesome and all - but perhaps the most exciting news?
"There is a secret female character, but she may be familiar already. “It’s not a big deal. But it’s a good character,” [Feige] says."
The big question, then?
Who's the Mystery Woman?
Well, the most obvious first thought is that it'll be either Linda Cardellini or Julie Delpy - with the pair having recently been confirmed to be appearing in the movie. It seems that one of them, though, is set to play the Black Widow's childhood instructor, in what Feige and Whedon apparently promise will be:
"will be a powerful moment in the history of Scarlett Johansson’s character."
Hence these here apparent ballet-dancing flashbacks (around the 1:36 mark), presumably :
The question though, remains: Who's our additional mysterious female character? Well, I'd say there's a pretty good chance that Delpy is set to play Natasha's mentor - she seems a more natural fit for the part - which leaves Cardellini in play for the final mystery woman.
Which leads nicely into the first of my three initial suspicions when it comes to the mystery woman:
1. Linda Cardellini as...Tony Stark's Mom
Yup, that's right - she could well be playing Tony's long-deceased mother, Maria Stark. Killed by Hydra - via a faked car accident - when Tony was young, Maria seems a likely candidate for an appearance in Age of Ultron, if only because we're already pretty likely to see some sort of extended flashback sequence. Could she be part of Tony's Scarlet Witch-induced nightmare, perhaps?
Alternatively, could we see:
2. Evangeline Lilly - or Linda Cardellini - as...The Wasp
It is, after all, entirely possible that Evangeline Lilly will get the chance to play Hope Van Dyne in the only movie remaining before Ant-Man's release this coming July. More likely, perhaps, would be the introduction of her mother, Janet Van Dyne (a.k.a., the original Wasp) alongside a young Hank Pym - another role Linda Cardellini could be perfect for.
The other option... were Feige's hint to be taken another way?
3. Cobie Smulders as...Not Maria Hill
Or, rather, as a very different version of Maria Hill to the one we've been expecting. After all, there's no guarantee that the character will be a new actress entirely - seeing as we've already been teased by Feige that "she may be familiar already."
Could we, perhaps, see Hill become an alternative version of an established hero from the comics? Spider-Woman, anyone?
Or...it could be someone else entirely...
What do you reckon, though?