What comes after Marvel: Age of Ultron?

So, what’s next?

Yes, we’ve got the upcoming movie list of the rest of Marvel, but what can we expect to see, given what’s come out thus far?  Obviously, there will be SPOILERS from Age of Ultron, so if you’re like one of three people who haven’t seen it yet, this blog post is NOT FOR YOU.

THE RETURN OF DOCTOR ZOLA

Yeah, remember him from The Winter Soldier?  When last seen, the former Swiss Hydra scientist was stuck in a 1970s supercomputer.

In the comic books, Arnim Zola was in his own mechanical body, usually appearing in a giant television screen. If only there was a way to put electronic brain patterns into a robot body….

Oh, wait.

I think that some of the Marvel movie people might be able to fit that in.  Somehow.  Just a guess.

For those people who have said that Zola was blown up in The Winter Soldier … you’re new to comic books, aren’t you?

CIVIL WAR IS COMING

The Captain America: Civil War storyline and the movie will have little to nothing to do with each other. There aren’t nearly enough heroes to pull that off.

In a post-SHIELD and post Age of Ultron universe, superheroes aren’t going to be the most popular people in the world.  Thanks Tony, for pissing off the planet.  Hulk trashed a major African city, so he’s not too popular either.  It shouldn’t be too hard for the “World Council” (who gave SHIELD orders to nuke Manhattan in Avengers, and seemingly wiped out in Winter Soldier) to convince world governments to pass something against superheroes.

HOWEVER….

It is far, far more likely that the majority of the “Civil War” elements will be between Captain America and Tony Stark.  Why?  Because it was implied in The Winter Soldier that Hydra killed Tony’s father. Who, exactly, was doing all of Hydra’s wetwork at that point?

Oh, yeah.  Captain America’s good and dear brainwashed friend, Bucky, the Winter Soldier.

Yeah, this could end badly. Also, Tony Stark can’t be in the same film with other heroes without getting into a fistfight. He’s due a few rounds with Captain America, having already fought with Thor and Hulk.  This Civil War fistfight may take up a whole ten minutes of the actual film.

With the lineup we currently have, this could end up with Cap vs. Iron Man, Falcon vs. War Machine, and Black Widow vs. Agent 13 …. why the last two vs?  Because the end of Age of Ultron shows that Captain America is not alone in the world anymore, and he’s got friends, even if Tony Stark is pissed at him. It wouldn’t be a one-on-one smackdown, unless something odd happened. The Falcon / Widow fights mentioned are purely speculative on my part. But those would be fun as Hell. Falcon is as securely on Cap’s side as War Machine is on Iron Man’s.  And last I checked, Sharon Carter will be a wild card, working for the CIA, but having her in her traditional white outfit, palette swapped for Black Widow’s outfit … can’t you just see how fun that would be?

Also, the bad guy in Civil War — the real bad guy — is Baron Zemo. As opposed to baron von Strucker … Basically, Hydra variation #59.

No, this is NOT Cobra Commander

This guy isn’t Red Skull, but was one of his major minions.

We know for a fact that one of the Strike team in The Winter Soldier (the character named Rumlow) will become the Hydra villain Crossbones, so we have him kicking around as well.

You have Zemo, Stark, Crossbones, Falcon, Agent 13, and Black Widow all confirmed for Civil War … as well as Iron Man, Winter Soldier, Falcon, The Vision, Hawkeye, War Machine and the Scarlet Witch.  And a surprise guess star, Martin Freeman, as … who knows? It’s unconfirmed yet.

And … this movie might even kill off Steve Rodgers for a few minutes, which I think would be a rotten move.  If they do that, expect Bucky to become Captain America.  I’d much rather it give Steve a girlfriend with Agent 13, Sharon Carter.

Speaking of which, can we let Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Agent 13 have a movie that’s a collection of spies?  Please? Because that would be excellent.

WAKANDA

Remember how Ultron went to an African country called Wakanda to get vibranium?  Well, guess who lives there?  Also, guess who is supposed to debut in Civil War?

If you said T’Challa, the Black Panther, you’d be right.

Wakanda, in the comics, is a small, postage-stamp sized country that’s technologically advanced as all heck.  Think of it as the mirror image of Doctor Doom’s Latveria, a small, postage-stamp sized country that’s technologically advanced as all heck, only European and evil.

Having it make an appearance in Age of Ultron is a nice, almost subtle nod to the next part of the franchise, while making sense within the film itself.

Also, the arms dealer in Age of Ultron with the vibranium (played by Andy Serkis) is a Black Panther villain. I suspect Serkis will be in this film, too.

THINGS ARE GOING TO GET STRANGE.

While I have no idea how Ant-Man is going to end up in …. any of this, I do know that the next film is Doctor Strange, with Benedict Cumberbatch as the good Doctor.

One of the various and sundry toys that Doctor Strange plays with is called the Eye of Agamotto.  I’m wondering if the Eye becomes important for any given, random reason.  It’s not like gems are important in this universe, are they?

Oh, wait….

Yeah, maybe.

If I’m right, then that means that Strange will have gem #5 of 6.  Gotta catch ’em all.

Keep in mind that “Phase 3” is officially the following, in this order

  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Doctor Strange
  • Guardians of the Galaxy 2
  • Thor: Ragnarok
  • Black Panther
  • Infinity War 1
  • Captain Marvel
  • Inhumans
  • Infinity War 2

9 Films. Whew. So, a lot of the following is guesswork.

We know at least one thing for sure: Thanos has to be introduced, and Thanos needs to get all of the Infinity Gems … and I know from reading the comics that when he gets all of the gems, it’s game over.  For the universe.

Civil War will bring in Bucky, and start setting up conflict for the next Avengers film. Why? Because if the Avengers are disassembled, then they have to pull together for the Thanos threat, and I’m always for more conflict.

Doctor Strange will bring us the world of magic in Marvel (that may not be merely advanced technology), and another Infinity gem …. probably. Expect the name “Dormamu” to show up. He’s basically a demon. Sort of.

Guardians 2 will most likely bring in Thanos as a primary villain. Why?  Because the man has barely been in this franchise.  All he’s done has been to back Loki in Avengers and the Kree in Guardians. He’s had a handful of lines in the three films we’ve seen him in. If he’s had a full page of dialogue, I’d be surprised. At best, he’s a consulting supervillain. GotG2 would give him his moment to shine, and show off just how much of a badass he is…. Oh, hell, one of the last lines in the movie was about Thanos. We should at least get a CV on this guy.

Personally, I think at least part of the plot should have Thanos attacking the Nova Corps to get the MacGuffin gem from GotG, if not getting his hands on gem #6.  However, if they’re following the original 1991 Infinity Gauntlet storyline, I expect a man named Adam Warlock to appear here.

Ragnarok will probably involve Thanos coming for the Cosmic Rubix Cube (the plot device from Captain America), as well  and Asgard falling apart under the rule of fake-Odin. If GotG 2 just talks about Thanos, this should be the movie that shows off what a threat level he truly is.  If an entire civilization of aliens who are all on the level of Thor are going to get trounced by Thanos, what hope does everyone else in the universe have?

Black Panther as the one film right before Infinity War … honestly, I’m not certain how that’s going to work in regards to everything else. We know that Andy Serkis will be a bad guy, if not the bad guy.

Infinity War part 1 … this should bring Thanos to Earth. We know that Earth has the Mind Gem, and the gem has a protector. If I’m right about Doctor Strange, he’s also got a gem.  If Thanos wants to collect the whole set, he has to go through the wielder of at least one, if not two gems. The bulk of this movie will be picking up the pieces of Civil War, bringing everyone back on board, bringing Stephen Strange into the Avengers (whatever may or may not be left of them). Expect the last scene of the movie to be Thanos getting his hands on the final gem, or to have the money shot of every last superhero mentioned above gathered in one space with the obligatory “Let’s get to work” or even, maybe,just maybe, “Avengers, ASSEMBLE!” Yes, that would be one crowded room.

Captain Marvel: Carol Danvers is, essentially, an Inhuman (as seen on Agents of SHIELD) an alien weapons program that tried to turn other races into living weapons of death.  In the AoS franchise, the official Inhumans license is due to the Kree … in the comic books, the Skrulls created Captain Marvel, but we haven’t seen the Skrulls, yet (or we have seen them, as the Chitauri, depending on who you listen to).

This can go a few ways.  We can start with Carol Danvers being abducted by aliens to be experimented upon, and the powers she’s given cause her to break loose and wreak havoc upon her captors as she fights her way back to Earth, thereby uniting Marvel Earth and Marvel Cosmic

…. or she can be a bit player freed by the Guardians of the Galaxy in their sequel.  Which would work.

Otherwise, if the GotG aren’t in Infinity War part 1, I will lay money, right here, right now, that Carol Danvers will be broken out, or given a ride home, by the Guardians. Because this is another way to bring this particular band of misfits to Earth.

The Inhumans: I’ve already addressed this a little above, but, again, these folk are basically a result of an alien weapons program that went awry, and they’re basically the castoffs from the Kree / Skrulls / alien of your choice.  This will also suck in Agents of SHIELD into the franchise. We were promised at one point that Coulson would be brought back into the Avengers franchise by movie #3.  He will probably be at the head of a rebuilt SHIELD. And he will be badass. Assuming the franchise isn’t canceled by then.

The Inhumans, in the comic, have a base on the moon.  It would make an interesting stopping off point for Captain Marvel on her way home to Earth.

Or, their moon base could be trashed by Thanos entering the system in Infinity War 1, it could play either way.

Infinity War 2: Welcome to the End of All Things.  This should be the biggest, baddest, most epic shootout ever.  I’m not sure if it’s going to be (1) the Avengers in a beat-the-clock chase to collect all the Infinity Gems before Thanos can get them, or (2) if it’s them defending the last gem, or (3) if it’s “Thanos has all the gems, and the gauntlet, and we’re screwed.”

If it’s #3, expect casualties. A lot of them. In fact, this might be their excuse to start recasting certain actors (like Robert Downey Jr., who is both awesome, and getting too old for this, and probably reaching 8 Marvel films by this point, if not more).

Why will this be “bad” if Thanos has all of the gems?  Think about it: Any one of these gems seen thus far can destroy a planet, if not the universe. Now collect all six.  Yeah. It will be bad for our heroes.

WHAT ABOUT MARVEL TELEVISION?

To which I ask: what about it?

Okay, okay, the Netflix stuff has been fun so far, with Daredevil.  Agents of SHIELD may turn into a good tv show at some point, instead of a show that merely no longer sucks.  At this point, of the Netflix shows promised, I think only Luke Cage ended up as an Avenger at any point — Jessica Jones, Daredevil, and Iron Fist seem slightly underpowered to be drawn into a conflict with Thanos, The Mad Titan.

The Netflix team-up series, The Defenders, should air in 2017, the year before the start of Infinity War. And Strange was a part of the Defenders at some point. So it’s not impossible to have the team show up in Infinity War. But I think it’s unlikely.

If Marvel puts all of their cards on the table, and goes all out for Infinity War, bringing together all of their media from across the board … 1) I’d be surprised, and 2) this would be great or awkward.

Oh, who am I kidding, if they bring in their TV and blended it with their films, this would be amazing.

About Declan Finn

Declan Finn is the author of Honor at Stake, an urban fantasy novel, nominated for Best Horror in the first annual Dragon Awards. He has also written The Pius Trilogy, an attempt to take Dan Brown to the woodshed in his own medium -- soon to be republished by Silver Empire Press. Finn has also written "Codename: Winterborn," an SF espionage thriller, and it's follow-up, "Codename: Winterborn." And "It was Only on Stun!" and "Set To Kill" are murder mysteries at a science fiction convention.
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