At Comic-Con 2010, newly appointed Avengers director Joss Whedon assembled the principal cast of his forthcoming movie on-stage.
Notably, the only woman was Scarlett Johansen, reprising her Iron Man 2 role of S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow.
But Buffy creator Whedon, no stranger to strong female roles, has since confirmed that Romanoff "will not be the only female character."
Who will join Scar-Jo in the 2012 movie? Looking at Marvel's illustrious history, there is no shortage of candidates to help or hinder the Avengers...
The Comic-Book Character: Heiress Janet van Dyne was moved to fight crime after an alien monster killed her father.
Injected with the same particles that powered Ant Man, she can shrink, grow wings and hire energy blasts from her wasp's 'sting.'
The Movie Version: As one of the founding members of The Avengers in print, she's bound to get a look-in at some point.
It'd be fun to seed her backstory as a spoiled princess who will come good in future movies, whether it be The Avengers' sequel or Edgar Wright's in-the-pipeline Ant Man movie.
Played By: Recent rumours suggest that Eva Longoria has screen-tested for the role, and her sexy/spiky persona could well be worth a punt.
The Comic-Book Character: Mary Walker is mentally ill, with three distinct personas: timid "Mary," violent"Typhoid" and brutal "Bloody Mary.
Helpfully, she's also telekinetic, making her extremely useful as an assassin.
The Movie Version: Already a bit disturbed, Walker is nearly killed during one of the Hulk's rampages and mistakenly believes him and his fellow Avengers to be villains.
So she sides with criminal organisation HYDRA to get her revenge.
Played By: A punk'd up Drew Barrymore could pull off the necessary street-trash aura.
The Comic-Book Character: Originally a lawyer, Jennifer Susan Walters developed the angry-green gene after cousin Bruce Banner had to give her a blood transfusion.
The Movie Version: Keep tight to the backstory. Walters is a minor character, providing legal counsel for the team and giving Mark Ruffalo's Bruce somebody to spar with.
When tragedy strikes, he gives blood but, in a last-minute twist, Jennifer starts to show signs of Hulking out.
Played By: Eva Mendes
The Comic-Book Character: Monica Rambeau is capable of transforming herself into any kind of energy: electricity, radiation, cosmic rays, you name it.
This makes her capable of nifty tricks like invisibility, flight and powering toasters.
The Movie Version: With all that kit, the Avengers are going to need somebody to keep the fires at HQ burning. Movie Photon is the team's sparkplug.
Played By: Taraji P. Henson
The Comic-Book Character: S.H.I.E.L.D. operative Agent 13, she's also the niece of Captain America's original wartime lover, Peggy Carter.
The Movie Version: With Hayley Atwell already playing Peggy Carter opposite Chris Evans's Steve Rogers in The First Avenger, there's scope for a neat gag as the Captain finds her descendant working for Nick Fury in the present day.
Played By: Hard to resist giving Atwell a second role.
The Comic-Book Character: Wanda Maximoff is the daughter of Magneto. Yes, that Magneto.
In the comics, this villain-turned-Avenger can warp reality, which pretty much means she can do anything.
The Movie Version: Largely responsible for capturing the Avengers by mid-movie, it turns out she despairs of the depths of depravity to which her fellow villains are capable, so helps the Avengers to escape.
Played By: Monica Bellucci
The Comic-Book Character: Barbara 'Bobbi' Moore has nothing to do with England winning the World Cup. She's yet another S.H.I.E.L.D. agent: no superpowers but an expert fighter nonetheless.
The Movie Version: Considered one of S.H.I.E.L.D's finest at the film's start, she inadvertently stumbles upon HYDRA's big scheme and is offed in a killer early twist, kickstarting the Avengers' adventure.
Played By: Sienna Miller.
The Comic-Book Character: Jessica Drew isn't related to Peter Parker, although her roots are similar (radiation + spiders = Spidey-powers).
Where she truly parts company from the good guys is that she was recruited by HYDRA and, initally at least, fought the Avengers.
The Movie Version: The Avengers are in a pickle and hear the telltale swish of Spidey web-slingers. Saved!
...Or, at least they think they are until Spider-woman swings by on the bad guys' side.
Played By: Anne HathaWay
The Comic-Book Character: Queen Veranke is leader of the villainous alien Skrull and, like them, a shape-shifter undetectable by the Avengers.
The Movie Version: Tweaking a plot twist from Marvel's Secret Invasion arc, it turns out that Veranke is impersonating Black Widow and has gained access to the inner circle of the Avengers.
A complication they don't need given their battle against HYDRA.
Played By: Amy Ryan