Marvel Films from SDCC 2012 by Jerry Whitworth
Recently at San Diego Comic-Con 2012, Marvel’s upcoming batch of films were announced including Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Ant-Man. Considering the success of previous films like the Avengers and the Amazing Spider-Man, to say these new projects are highly-anticipated would be an understatement. Having already discussed Iron Man 3 in a previous article, lets take a look at the other films and what they might entail.
THOR: THE DARK WORLD
Having featured prominently in Thor and the Avengers (Loki the primary antagonist for both), it’s little wonder following Iron Man (which largely started the ball rolling for the Avengers film franchise) we would next get a Thor film. As with all the films with the exception of Iron Man 3, few details are known. That said, it’s likely we can infer from the title of the Thor sequel that the Dark World will explore another of the nine realms of Yggdrasil. Up to this point, we’ve seen Asgard (home to Thor and the gods), Midgard (Earth), and Jotunheim (home to the Frost Giants). Keeping this in mind, likely the Dark World refers to Svartalfheim, home to the Dark Elves. The seventh of the nine realms, Svartalfheim was ruled by Malekith the Accursed, a powerful sorcerer who sought to control all realms, making alliances with the likes of Loki and fire giant ruler Surtur and sought the Casket of Ancient Winters (an artifact containing the Fimbulwinter of frost giant ruler Ymir that can generate perpetual snow storms that Loki employed in the first Thor film) for this purpose. Likely Malekith’s mightiest servant was the dark elf Algrim the Strong, adorned with deep black enchanted armor and who was sent to battle Thor so his master can eliminate his greatest threat. However, he was betrayed when Malekith opened the ground beneath their feet into a pit of lava. Thor managed to avoid it using his uru hammer Mjolnir, but Algrim was not as fortunate. Algrim’s armor manages to save him but the experience left him amnesiac (due to the great trauma), save for a desire to kill Thor, and Algrim returned as the dreaded Kurse. Malekith, meanwhile, came into possession of the Casket of Ancient Winters and used it on Asgard, thoroughly freezing the realm which trickled into the other eight worlds as well. Thor would save the day employing the Gem of Infinite Suns from Odin’s armory and Kurse would get his revenge on Malekith apparently killing him and was elected to live among the gods in Asgard. Thor: The Dark World is set for release November 8, 2013 directed by Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones).
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER
When Bucky Barnes died towards the end of World War II battling Baron Zemo, it left a hole in Captain America he was never able to fill. However, unbeknownst to the Captain, Bucky actually survived, discovered by the Russians with amnesia. Turned into a cyborg to compensate for injuries suffered (including the loss of an arm), Bucky was reprogrammed by Department X into a highly-efficient wetworks covert operative codenamed the Winter Soldier. In order to preserve him, Bucky’s handlers keep him cryogenically frozen when off-mission where he’s only aged a few years despite being employed for decades. The Winter Soldier would re-enter his mentor’s life again after assassinating the Red Skull and another former confidant of Captain America’s in the Nomad, Jack Monroe, before stealing the Cosmic Cube (known as the Tesseract in the Marvel films) and kidnapping Captain America’s former lover Sharon Carter, an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Captain America would track down his former partner and, using the Cube, restored his memory. Shortly afterward it was believed Captain America was killed and Bucky inherited his mantle. In the film Captain America: The First Avenger, Bucky was portrayed by Sebastian Stan and met his believed death in trying to capture Arnim Zola alongside the Howling Commandos. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is set for release April 4, 2014 directed by Anthony and Joe Russo (Community).
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
Originally a team made up of alien residents of the various planets of our solar system in the future, the Guardians of the Galaxy were a band of rebels trying to revolt against the oppression of the Brotherhood of Badoon who had conquered Earth and surrounding worlds. The group would travel to the past on occasion meeting Earth’s heroes, a notable time being to follow a dangerous criminal known as Korvac who gained the power of a god in modern times. The group became honorary Avengers and grew to include various others, branching out into a second group known as the Galactic Guardians. Following the events of Annihilation: Conquest, in which the Phalanx invaded the Kree empire, a modern day Guardians were formed (taking the name after discovering the frozen body of the future group’s leader Major Vance Astro) borrowing elements from Adam Warlock’s Infinity Watch (so much so, about half the group was made up of former members). Led by Star-Lord, an interplanetary police officer not unlike a Green Lantern, the Guardians proactively scowl the universe in an effort to prevent wars such as those committed in Annihilation and Annihilation: Conquest. A promotional image for the upcoming film depicts the Guardians of the Galaxy including Drax the Destroyer (a superhuman created to kill the mad Titan Thanos), Groot (an alien plant creature assigned to S.H.I.E.L.D.), Star-Lord (former N.A.S.A. astronaut empowered by the Master of the Sun), Rocket Raccoon (Guardian of the Keystone Quadrant and Halfworld’s chief ranger), and Gamora (last of the Zen Whoberi, wiped out by the Badoon, and raised to be an assassin by Thanos). It has been speculated on-line that Guardians of the Galaxy will in some way tie into the invasion of Earth and the reveal mid-credit of the Avengers film. Guardians of the Galaxy is set for release August 1, 2014.
Hank Pym is one of the most brilliant men on Earth, renowned as a physicist, biochemist, entomologist, and engineer in robotics, who discovered what he dubbed “Pym particles” that can shrink objects, foolishly testing it on himself. Surviving the experience, Pym decided to become the costumed adventurer Ant-Man, designing a helmet that allowed him to communicate and control ants (often employing a winged ant as a steed). Later, a colleague of Pym is murdered by an alien being and in the process of apprehending this criminal, this colleague’s beautiful socialite daughter Janet Van Dyne becomes the Ant-Man’s partner Wasp (and later lover and eventual wife). In the comics, Ant-Man was a founding member of the Avengers and is known for adopting several heroic identities, generally following discovering the ability to use Pym particles to grow, and has been known as Giant-Man, Goliath, Yellowjacket, and, after the death of Janet, the Wasp. As Edgar Wright is attached to direct Ant-Man, it’s believed the film maybe a comedy because it’s the genre he’s most known for, working on such films as Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. For this reason, it’s suggested the film may adapt elements of the Irredeemable Ant-Man, a short-lived dark comedy comic book series featuring Eric O’Grady, a low-level S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who stumbles upon Hank Pym’s Ant-Man technology and steals it in hopes of becoming a famous hero, in turn wooing women and obtaining fortune. O’Grady proves to be an unscrupulous, immoral degenerate whose schemes consistently blow up in his face with him vowing to turn over a new leaf.