The Avengers comics were a series created by Stan Lee in 1963, designed to group Marvel’s top superheroes together and tap into the success enjoyed by DC’s Justice League Of America franchise.
The original lineup, dubbed “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” consisted of Iron Man, Wasp, Ant-Man and Thor. Captain America was discovered by the team in issue 4, where they found him trapped in a block of ice.
Marvel first announced plans to make an Avengers movie back in 2005, when the studio signed a massive $700 million deal with Paramount. With that whopping sum burning a hole in Marvel’s pocket, the studio formulated a scheme by which to make the most of their roster of super-heroes.
The plan was to introduce the main players to non comic-book fans by giving them their own movies, establishing them in the public consciousness and then bringing them all together for one epic team-up…
The first version of the script for The Avengers was written by Zak Penn, the writer responsible for 2008’s The Incredible Hulk (about which, more later). Penn’s biggest challenge was to come up with a storyline that would fit with the narrative continuity of the individual super-hero films, two of which had yet to be released when he began writing!
“We are learning it as we go and it’s pretty complicated,” said Penn of the struggle for continuity. “I have regular meetings at Marvel to catch up on continuity. There’s a board that tracks, ‘here’s where everything that happens in this movie overlaps with that movie.’ It’s just what they do in the comic books.”
Slowly, painstakingly, Penn managed to chisel out a version of the script he was happy with, and by March 2010, a first draft arrived on the desk of Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada.
“It’s official, I have the greatest job in the world,” teased Quesada via his Twitter feed, before dropping the bombshell every Marvel fan had been waiting years to hear. “Definition of ‘goosebumps’. Pressing enter and watching a screenplay entitled "AVENGERS" come out of my printer.”
The first of the Avengers to be given his own big-screen adventure was Iron Man, in Jon Favreau’s 2008 blockbuster. Powered by Robert Downey Junior’s infectiously smug turn as Tony Stark and some suitably badass action sequences, the film was well received by both critics and audiences alike.
The same couldn’t really be said for its lacklustre sequel, but nevertheless, the first stage of Marvel’s mission was completed: Iron Man was a bona fide movie star.
The second Avenger to be launched upon the moviegoing public was the Norse God Thor, as seen in Kenneth Branagh’s multiplex-filling debut in the superhero genre.
Telling the story of Thor’s expulsion from Asgard and his subsequent battle with evil brother Loki, the film was a fun if formulaic introduction to the character, played with gruff good nature by Aussie newcomer Chris Hemsworth. The man certainly knows how to swing a hammer…
Captain America was the final Avenger to make his big-screen bow, in last summer’s Captain America: The First Avenger . The origin story constraints mean the tale of a WW2 super-soldier takes a while in the telling, but when he finally gets suited and booted, Chris Evans makes for an engaging Cap, toning down his Fantastic Four brashness to pleasing effect.
Still, one can’t help but feel that the film (like Thor before it) is a mere appetite-whetter for the main course, when all three main-eventers are forced to join forces for The Avengers …
SHIELD is the secret military law-enforcement agency that brings the respective Avengers together as an all-conquering super-team. Initially known as the Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-Enforcement Division, the acronym’s meaning was later changed to Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate. In the films however, it was to mean something else again: Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.
The organisation is presided over by its shadowy director, Nick Fury, represented in the films by Samuel L Jackson. He is often assisted by Agent Coulson, who in turn is played by Clark Gregg. The organisation was to be gradually introduced throughout the individual movies, largely via placing a geek-baiting extra scene after the end credits…
Each of the aforementioned films contained a post-credits teaser, in which SHIELD founder Nick Fury would usually turn up for a quiet word with the superhero in question.
In Iron Man , he drops by Tony Stark’s apartment to talk to him about the Avenger Initiative. At the end of the sequel, he is seen talking to agent Coulson about a hammer the latter has found in New Mexico. After the credits in Thor , he talks to Dr. Selvig about an object of mysterious power, and at the end of Captain America he approaches the Cap about a mission with worldwide ramifications. Now that’s how you advertise a film!
The 2010 Comic-Con was dominated by Avengers chatter, with all kinds of rumours flying around about the big names set to be revealed among both cast and crew. When a convention hall full of sweaty-palmed fanboys were finally ready for the Avengers presentation, they were met by the following spine-tingling teaser...
The big reveal in San Diego turned out to be the confirmation of the long-standing rumour that Buffy bigwig Joss Whedon would be the film’s director. Marvel director Kevin Feige was particularly thrilled by the appointment, claiming that Whedon is the perfect man to bring The Avengers to life.
“I've known Joss for many years,” he told MTV . “We were looking for the right thing and he came in and met on it. He's incredibly intelligent, he's got great things to say about it, and if you look at the directors we've worked with, we hire directors who have the potential to do great things. We want our film to be that great thing.”
RDJ was hype-man in chief
The man charged with whipping the Comic-Con crowd into a frenzy was Robert Downey Junior, with Iron Man himself giving the soon-to-be-assembled Avengers the hard-sell treatment.
““I think Inception was just about the most ambitious movie I’ve ever seen,” he began, “and then I thought, ‘wait a Goddamn second. Marvel Studios is going to take all of their top superheroes, and they’re going to put them all together in The Avengers ? That’s the most ambitious movie I’ve ever seen.”
And with that he began to introduce the cast behind The Avengers , including a couple of notable new additions…
The first newcomer revealed at Comic-Con was Hurt Locker star Jeremy Renner, who will play the bow and arrow wielding Hawkeye. And according to Renner, the character’s lack of super-strength or eye-lasers is what attracted him to the part.
“I like [ Hawkeye ] because he isn’t a superhero,” he told MTV. “He’s not a guy in tights doing his thing, he’s just a regular dude with a highly trained set of skills. I think that’s kind of cool, and I can actually connect to that more than if he was flying around with a codpiece on.”
That said, he can still kick some serious arse, as anyone who witnessed his Thor cameo can testify…
One key member of the Avengers team we’ve yet to mention is The Hulk, the big green wrecking ball who supplies our super-team with a welcome dose of brute strength. However, despite playing Bruce Banner in The Incredible Hulk , Ed Norton was not invited back to join The Avengers .
The notoriously difficult actor was apparently not the easiest character to deal with during that shoot, a perception that was reinforced by Kevin Feige’s catty explanation of his absence.
“We have made the decision to not bring Ed Norton back to portray the title role of Bruce Banner in The Avengers ,” said Feige. “Our decision is definitely not one based on monetary factors, but instead rooted in the need for an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members. The Avengers demands players who thrive working as part of an ensemble.” Ouch.
The final surprise at the 2010 Comic-Con was the unveiling of Mark Ruffalo as Norton’s replacement. Ever the diplomat, Ruffalo was quick to quash any notion of a row with Norton, describing the actor as a friend and thanking him for having “bequeathed this part to me.”
Meanwhile, Whedon was thrilled with the direction casting had taken. “He was my first and only choice for Bruce Banner," Whedon told MTV . "I'm stunned that we landed that, just stunned. He has what I remember loving about the show, he invites you in in a way that [ no ] other performer has since Bill Bixby. He is a guy who's been beaten up by life, but not defined by that. That’s what I want from Bruce Banner, is a guy who’s still getting it done, even though he has his problem.”
Despite being relegated to the sidelines amid the disappointment of Iron Man 2 , Scarlett Johansson will return as the catsuit-sporting Black Widow. And apparently, SHIELD’s most alluring agent will be getting her hands thoroughly dirty this time around.
“We (Black Widow and Hawkeye) spent the most time at the stunt gym because we don't have fancy suits and super powers so we just do a lot of hand to hand combat and it's a war. It's an absolute war ... And I'll be rehabbing my injuries for years!”
Hawkeye and Black Widow share a past
As the two members of the Avengers not blessed with superhuman abilities, SHIELD agents Hawkeye and Black Widow have something in common, as well as a shared past…
“Our characters have a long history,” confirms Scarlett Johansson. “They've fought together for a long time in a lot of battles in many different countries. We're the two members of this swinging group who are skilled warriors - we have no superpowers.”
“It's a lonely game,” agrees Renner. “[ Hawkeye’s ] an outcast. His only connection is to Scarlett's character, Natasha. It's like a left hand/right hand thing. They coexist, and you need them both, especially when it comes to physical mission.”
Meanwhile, Whedon is being very cagey about the past that bonds the two characters, suffice to say that it doesn’t sound like a romantic one. “He and Black Widow share a very cool bond,” reveals the director. “I'm not gonna say, but there ain't a lot time for kissing in my movie. I've got too many goddam characters!”
One of the original Avengers who won’t be appearing however is Ant-Man. Edgar Wright is still bogged down in the process of bringing that particular character to the big screen, and explains that Marvel felt the two films would not complement each other in terms of continuity.
"I talked to Kevin Feige about that a while back where we just discussed about whether he would be in The Avengers ,” says Wright. “The thing is, the script that I’ve written, the chronology of it or the way it works wouldn’t really fit in with what they do.”
“My film is very much an introduction to that character,” he continues, “and so it wasn’t something where it felt right to introduce him in that film. Maybe if I do the solo Ant-Man film and maybe there’s a later Avengers then they could draft him in later. But it didn’t work with the kind of the angle that we were going to do with the origin that I’d written.”
What was somewhat swept over during all the Comic-Con excitement was the announcement that Whedon would not only be directing the picture, he’d also be giving Zak Penn’s script a total rewrite.
Whedon’s main aim was to boil down the respective story strands into one cohesive narrative concerning a group of superheroes learning to co-exist. However, whereas Penn was somewhat hamstrung by the labyrinthine continuity process, Whedon was given a significant helping hand by having the Captain America script turned over to him as well! Double the work, perhaps, but a workload that would make continuity a much more achievable goal…
Some directors might find it daunting to inherit such a high-profile cast, many of whom have played their characters before. However, for Whedon it presented a unique opportunity for collaboration between director and cast.
“Because they've played the parts before,” said Whedon to Yahoo Movies , “and because in some way we were creating a new vision of the part, I sat down with every one of them to talk about my ideas and their desires before I wrote the script, and that's very useful too.”
“So they knew from the ground-up that they were collaborating on it. And the things that didn't make sense to them or didn't work to them, they were like, ‘Well, I don't want to stress that part of my character. We have done that before.’ All of that stuff I could honour.”
“And then it's a question of making them heard, and then ultimately making them understand that there are things you are not going to budge on that are your vision. And once they know they are part of it, but you actually have a vision, and you are not just trying to tell them what they want to hear - that it's all working towards one purpose, one story, one idea - then I feel, yeah, you are doing fine.”
It's a family affair
Joss Whedon’s view of the Avengers story is one that is centred around family. Alright, so your average nuclear clan might not be able to rip up trees or take to the skies, but there are certainly some recognisably domestic tensions in the super-group dynamic.
“The thing I love about it,” says Whedon, “the thing that made me excited to do it, is how counterintuitive it is. These people shouldn't be in the same room, and that is the very definition of family.”
“The whole movie is about finding yourself from community, and finding that you not only belong together, but you need each other very much,” he explains. “Obviously this will be expressed through punching, but it will be the heart of the film!”
Especially for Thor
Chris Hemsworth will be reprising his role as hammer-wielding hardman Thor, and he’s been thoroughly impressed with the way Whedon has managed to weave so many characters into a coherent story.
“I'm hugely impressed with how Joss Whedon has worked all these characters into the story,” says Hemsworth. “I was asking myself, 'How is it going to work?' But Joss is a genius in the way that he's written this. All the characters get their time, and it ends up being a very iconic collaboration. We've watched these characters grow individually on screen, and to see them come together is really exciting.”
“Thor has more of a personal investment. It's not just some bad guy that he's gotta take care of; for him, it's family. There's a sense of, 'I'll beat him up and teach him a lesson, not you guys.' It's the first time in ages since he's seen his brother, and it's amongst all this chaos.”
That’s right, Thor will be involved in another family feud, as his villainous brother Loki will return to cause more havoc in The Avengers . Not only that, but it seems as though he will be the film’s main antagonist.
Meanwhile, Tom Hiddleston is clearly having a whale of a time with a new cast of superheroes to terrorise. “I had the privilege of throwing Robert Downey Jr. out of a window. So, it’s pinch-me moments all the way,” revealed Hiddleston recently. “All I can tell you is he deserved it. He’s got a sharp tongue, that Tony Stark.”
And he's meaner than ever
Whilst Loki was portrayed in Thor as something of a lost soul, Tom Hiddleston believes The Avengers will show him in a whole new light – a much nastier one.
“He changes in that he is definitively more menacing," says Hiddleston. "A lot more. Loki in Thor is a lost prince, and there is a degree of vulnerability and confusion in his identity. In The Avengers , he knows exactly who he is, he's fully self-possessed, and he's here with a particular mission.”
“Essentially, he's come down to Earth to subjugate it, to rule the human race as their king," continues the star. "His primary argument is this planet is rife and populated by people who are constantly fighting each other. If they're all united together in their reverence of one king, there will be no war.”
The post-credits sequence in Thor (directed by Whedon, incidentally) showed Loki having assumed control of Dr. Selvig, in order to get his hands on the cosmic cube that featured in Captain America . The Avengers will see a continuation of Loki’s ongoing plan to conquer Earth when he rallies an army to help do his bidding.
These presumably would be the “foes” (plural) referred to by Sam Jackson in the teaser trailer. The internet community has long assumed that Loki will be assisted by the Skrulls, a race of extra-terrestrial beings who crop up throughout the comics. Indeed, some of the trailer footage appears to show alien weaponry reducing Manhattan to rubble. However, there might also be a more recognisable baddie on the scene as well…
Red Skull set to appear?
Yes, the rumour mill recently went into overdrive concerning the possibility of an appearance by Captain America villain Red Skull, after toy manufacturers HeroClix included the puce-faced antagonist in a tie-in set of action figures.
“Charging straight out of theaters and onto your tabletop,” begins the accompanying blurb, “Marvel’s The Avengers Movie HeroClix set features heroes like Captain America and Thor as they battle the villainy of the Red Skull and Loki.”
Interesting… very interesting.
The Hulk is a loose cannon
Despite being a member of the Avengers, The Hulk remains something of a loose cannon, and is regarded as such by his fellow team-mates. Indeed, Hawkeye has to perennially keep one eye on the big green monster, since according to Jeremy Renner, “he's the only one who can really take down The Hulk with his tranq tip arrows.”
However, not everyone is quite so sensible when it comes to Bruce Banner’s alter-ego…
“No one wants to set him off except for Iron Man, who just wants to see him pop,” reveals Mark Ruffalo. “It’s funny, there’s a really cool dynamic between Stark and Banner. They’re a lot alike in a strange way. They’re both these kind of scientists who are mavericks, kind of renegades. Banner, for all his mild-mannered mythology, he’s still the dude who was testing some pretty crazy shit on himself, so he has that rebel streak in him.”
Captain America must learn to adjust
The end of Captain America: The First Avenger saw Steve Rogers displaced into modern-day New York after discovering he has slept for seventy years. Not only will The Avengers see him thrown into battle with Loki et al, he’ll also have to come to terms with life in a new age.
“That’s where he is gonna get some conflict,” agrees Chris Evans. “It’s gonna be about not just adjusting to the fact that every human being he knows is dead, but adjusting to the evolution in society, and how modern values and morals have changed. But Cap’s not a complainer. He doesn’t whine. So it’s gonna be a matter of finding conflict but without moaning.”
Cap and Iron Man will butt heads
As the first full trailer demonstrates, there’s a fair bit of tension between Tony Stark and Steve Rogers. “Big man in a suit of armour,” sneers Rogers. “Take that away, what are you?” “Uh, genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist,” quips Stark.
“There's certainly some tension,” says Chris Hemsworth. “You've got big egos on these superheroes. None of them want to be told what to do or form an alliance with these people who they don't understand anything about. In the comic books, you see that it's not an easy mix; that's definitely in the movie."
But Downey and Evans are best pals
Despite the on-screen tension, away from the cameras RDJ and Chris Evans have nothing but respect for one another. “He's really sharp, he’s really fun and he’s created I think just the right tone for Steve Rogers,” said Downey of his co-star. “I mean Captain America is the original gangster of the Marvel universe – The Avengers doesn't really work unless he works, so I tip my hat to him.”
Evans speaks equally highly of Downey, explaining how the A-lister gave him a few pointers on how to handle the spotlight that comes with playing a superhero.
“He's just so good, man," Evans raved. "He was so cool. I'm not that great with press sometimes, and he was so like a mentor. He's so willing to give advice and you're like, 'Downey just gave me a thumbs up! That just made my life.' I'm like skipping to my trailer, and this guy had no idea the impact he just had. He comes on set, and it was the first time I was ever like, 'Wow, that's a fucking movie star. That is a fucking movie star.’”
Thor will also get a piece of Iron Man
Mind you, it’s not just Captain America who gets on the wrong side of Tony Stark – according to Robert Downey Junior, Thor also gets in on the act. “When I first read the script I didn’t understand why Thor was kicking my ass so much,” said Downey. “Now I understand.”
He didn’t elaborate further, but from the looks of the trailer (in which Thor launches his hammer at Cap’s shield), Thor is somewhat conflicted between his allegiance to the team and the way by which they go about dealing with his brother.
“I think Thor’s motivation is much more of a personal one,” explains Hemsworth, “in the sense that it’s his brother Loki that is stirring things up. Whereas for everyone else, it’s some bad guy who they’ve gotta take down. It’s a different approach for me, or for Thor. I’ve been frustrated with my brothers at times, or family, but I’m the only one who is allowed to be angry at them. There’s a bit of that.”
Up in the air
Fanboys will be pleased to learn that some of SHIELD’s trademark kit will be included in The Avengers , including both the Helicarrier and the Quinjet. The former of these is a vast aircraft carrier that also possesses the capacity for independent flight.
Meanwhile, the Quinjet is a type of modified fighter jet, used in the comics by SHIELD operatives and the Avengers themselves. And from the looks of the picture above, it seems that Hawkeye might be one of the lucky characters to get his hands on one…
The theme is teamwork
According to Ruffalo, the underlying theme of The Avengers is one of teamwork, and the struggle of the individual to put aside their own ego for the benefit of the greater good.
“You have all these disparate egos, superheroes in this and that, and they refuse to give up some of their positions in order to make a more perfect union and to join the team,” says Ruffalo. “That’s really what the whole movie is about - subjugating your own best interest momentarily to further that of the whole.”
The cast have also worked as a team
According to Joss Whedon, far from having a clash of egos on his hands, the ensemble he inherited on The Avengers work remarkably well together. “What I find is that these actors have a great time playing against each other,” revealed the director, “and they are, as a troupe, actually a much better team than the Avengers are!”
And Whedon particularly enjoyed working with RDJ, whom he allowed a certain degree of freedom as to the direction in which he took the character.
“I would give him stuff to say, and by and large, he would say it,” says Whedon, wryly. “But then there were always pockets where we had some wiggle room for him to play, or ask for options, and if he said, ‘Can we do something else here?’ I could give him four or five options by the time he had his makeup on. Because that’s actually fun for me, that frantic scramble.”
One of the obvious challenges of making a movie like The Avengers is the difficulty in spreading the action across so many characters. It’s a difficult proposition giving six superheroes equal billing, but Whedon feels the finished article has managed to pull it off.
“At the end of the day, the guy with the bow and arrow is a lot easier to write gags for than the god,” admits Whedon, “but we created a situation where everybody can be useful, and everybody can be in jeopardy, and they really can act as a team, even though - as we have known from the first issue of the Avengers comic - there's no reason for these people to be on the same team.”
Shooting the action was a challenge
Whilst Whedon had plenty on his plate juggling the various characters involved in The Avengers , the biggest challenge came in the form of the film’s gargantuan action sequences.
“I had one week where we shot basically the entire team arguing,” says Whedon. “I was like, ‘If I can get through this week, no bullet can harm me.’ And that week actually was complex, but went off really, really well. Then we got to the cars exploding, and I realized, ‘Well, this is actually much harder.’"
“And what's harder about it was that, trying to keep action from being generic - from being the same gag over and over and over - it's extremely tough. Because we have a go-to, and it's the cars flip over and blow up. And to take that and go, "Okay, well, how do I contextualize this? How do I make it matter, and how do I make it different, and how do I differentiate all their powers and their actions?”
The film’s climactic sequences in which Manhattan is laid to waste was filmed on such a gargantuan scale, that even the cast weren’t entirely aware of everything that was going on around them.
“Someone’s in the air, flying around,” explains Jeremy Renner. “I’m on the ground, shooting a bow and arrow. There are a lot of things happening. I have no idea what that movie looks like. Zero idea. Most of the time, I have a good idea of how it’s going to turn out because I’ve seen so much of it, but I have no idea. I feel like I might be an extra in it. I’m not sure.”
And as a result, Renner has nothing but respect for Whedon’s ability to hold it all together. “It was the ultimate challenge for Joss Whedon, who knows that universe so well,” says the star. “There was no one better to write it. He was so challenged, to write and direct that thing. I don’t know how you put that many characters in a movie like that. It’s immense.”
Writing Iron Man
When it came to writing the part of Tony Stark, Whedon was totally unfettered by dealing with any backstory, given that Iron Man is probably the best known character in the entire film. Still, that in itself posed a certain challenge…
“I think the conversations were largely about ‘Where is Tony now?’”, said Whedon in an extensive interview with Yahoo . “Like, ‘Who is he now? Where is he [ going ] from Iron Man 2 towards Iron Man 3 ?’ He is such a well-delineated character, so it was really a question of, ‘What do we want to stress and what do we want to say? We have said that, we have done that, so let's not go there.’”
“He felt a sort of isolated man who is — even though there is an element of that, just because that's sort of what any team movie is about. He didn't want to be the sort of just, ‘I am totally wrapped up in one thing and I am not thinking about everybody else.’ He didn't want to be the tortured lonely man, which I totally get. And it was easy to make him as delightful and gregarious as he can be and still go, well, there is a piece missing and it's the piece that makes him an Avenger.”
Writing The Hulk
When it came to Bruce Banner, Whedon was keen to start afresh, with any prior influence coming from the television series rather than the character’s two big-screen outings.
“Yeah, [ Mark Ruffalo ] and I did the most character work of anyone,” says Whedon, “because we really were starting fresh, but we were starting with something that had been embodied several times. And both of us agreed upfront that the template for who we wanted this guy to be in his life was Bill Bixby, the TV [ character ] who was busy helping other people.
“That was more interesting to us than the Banner in the first two movies who was always fixated on curing himself. We spent a lot of time talking about what makes us Hulk out, the nature of anger, how it feels.”
Writing Captain America
On paper, Captain America might not seem such a fun character to write, given that he’s probably the most straight-laced of The Avengers ’ cast of colourful characters. However, for Whedon, that’s just what makes him so endearing.
“I am the guy who loves Cyclops on the X-Men, because he is square,” admits Whedon. “[ Captain America ] is a little square, and he is aware that he is a little square, and he is aware that the world is a beat ahead of him, or in his case, 70 beats. I think that's very disarming and very charming. I relate to that guy. I also don't know who the popular singers are right now, so he is actually really easy for me to write.”
“There were some lines where [ Chris ] would be like, ‘Okay, now I just sound like an idiot,’” continues the director. “And in context, I was like, ‘Yeah, actually, now that it's all laid out that is a bit much.’ He is very aware of his dignity, but at the same time understood why I wanted to find the humour in somebody who was so out of touch.”
Writing Nick Fury
When it came to depicting SHIELD director Nick Fury, Whedon was keen to portray him as ambiguously as possible. “He’s in a real moral gray area where you really have to decide, 'Is Nick Fury the most manipulative guy in the world?” explains Whedon. “Is he a good guy? Is he completely Machiavellian or is it a bit of both?”
“I felt that in the other movies, they had been cameos and he had been called upon to come in and be Sam Jackson and bluster a little bit,” says Whedon. “And I told Sam up front that my big agenda was to see the weight on someone who is supposed to be in control of the most powerful beings on the planet. The weight on somebody who has to run the organization and the gravity of it. Not that we don't have any fun with Nick, but it feels like a much more textured performance and at times really moving.”
The first teaser poster for The Avengers was released at the 2011 Comic-Con, and as you can see from the full version below, it’s not giving much away.
That said, it does look nice and slick, doesn’t it? And that tagline is a nicely minimalist way to reference the comics…
Also revealed at Comic-Con was this set of concept art posters, as designed by Co-Visual Development Supervisors Ryan Meinerding and Charlie Wen. And my, don’t we love them...
The final set of posters to be revealed so far were a pair of international banners showing the Avengers assembled into two groups of four (provided you count Nick Fury and Loki as Avengers, which for the purposes of this sentence, we do).
There looks to be a bit of dodgy photoshopping on show here, but nevertheless, it’s nice to see the cast all lined up in costume…
If you weren’t already excited by the prospect of Marvel’s top superheroes going into battle side by side, the explosive trailer will rectify that in spades.
Put simply, it looks utterly brilliant, from the explosive, grand-scale action sequences to the spiky bickering between Iron Man and Captain America.
If you’ve not already seen it, take a look below…
And for those in need of a little extra fix, you can also take a look at the Russian trailer, which contains a few extra snippets of footage. Sadly, all the dialogue is dubbed into Russian, so we’re not exactly sure what Black Widow is saying to Hulk, but still...
Distributed by Disney
Perhaps mindful of the vast outlay they spent on acquiring the rights to Marvel’s stable of superheroes, Paramount have sold the distribution rights to both The Avengers and Iron Man 3 to Disney, who reportedly paid a cool $115 million for the privilege.
It’s a move that makes sense for all parties, particularly since Disney purchased Marvel Entertainment back in 2009 for the princely sum of $4 billion.
“We appreciate the tremendous momentum that Paramount established with these iconic Marvel characters,“ said Disney chairman Rick Ross, “and look forward to propelling the brand even further in the coming years.”
At present, no fewer than three sequels are in the pipeline for the respective Avengers characters, with Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 expected in 2013 and Captain America 2 pencilled in for a 2014 arrival.
Meanwhile, Kevin Feige hinted at a possible Avengers sequel while discussing Shane Black’s Iron Man 3 (which is currently in pre-production) at the New York Comic-Con: “[ Iron Man 3 ] will be the first of what we sort of refer to as the second phase of this saga that will culminate, God willing, in Avengers 2 .”
Mark Ruffalo also seems to think the Avengers have a little further yet to run. “[Marvel] set up several pictures over a couple of years and possibly there will be a Hulk movie,” revealed the star. “There’ll probably be a couple more Avengers too, which would be fun.”
There has been a lot of talk concerning Hawkeye and Black Widow (neither of whom have been given an origin movie) as to whether the pair might be given a spin-off adventure after The Avengers . And according to Kevin Feige, it’s certainly something Marvel are considering.
“There’s no definitive plans,” says Feige, “but we have started talking and talking with Scarlett about what a Widow movie could be. Internally we’ve also started thinking what a Hawkeye movie could be, how we could continue to explore the organization SHIELD.”
““I love playing the Widow,” says Scarlett Johansson “I think she's got a very interesting past, a lot of storylines to explore, and certainly Kevin [ Feige ] loves that character. I think if the fans want it, and the audience wants it, nothing's impossible.”
As for Renner, he’s remaining tight-lipped. “I think, there's a possibility for anything," he told MTV . "Who's to say? I don't have a crystal ball. I'm not a soothsayer. But I was happy to be a part of that project. A great cast. That was the best thing about that job was the amazing group of actors I got to know.”
The film will arrive in April
The Avengers will arrive in UK cinemas on 27 April 2012, giving Marvels top boys the drop on Spider-Man and Batman, who won’t be pitching up until 4 July and 20 July respectively. See how many of your friends you can amuse / irritate / lose by instructing them to “assemble” at your local multiplex…