The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Entertainment

October 25, 2012

Heather Bremer: 'The Avengers' sets stage for ambitious slate

Nothing’s been the same since New York …”

So says Tony Stark in the opening of the newly released “Iron Man 3” trailer. If only Stark knew how very true those words are, not only in his world but in ours.

By “New York,” Stark is undoubtedly referring to the events in this summer’s blockbuster “The Avengers.” And while we have until April 2013 to see exactly how the fallout from invasion of the Chitauri and assembling of Earth’s mightiest superheroes unfolds on screen, we are already seeing the film’s ramifications on the broader entertainment landscape.

“The Avengers” was the film most comic book fans and movie buffs said could never be made. How could anyone fit an entire team of superheroes and actor egos into one coherent story?

Writer/director Joss Whedon made it look easy. So easy, in fact, DC Comics has finally realized the same treatment is feasible for its Justice League, complete with Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. This “dream project” has yet to pick up much steam, but at least it’s started.

Meanwhile, at Marvel, it’s full steam ahead. Robert Downey Jr. dons Iron Man’s armor for a fourth time next spring. “Thor: The Dark World” arrives in November 2013. Chris Evans returns in a solo film in April 2014 for “Captain America: Winter Soldier,” while “Guardians of the Galaxy,” a space-based team outing, drops in August of that year. “Avengers 2” debuts in summer 2015, followed by “Ant-Man” sometime thereafter. There’s also two cartoon series set to launch next year with ties to the film universe.

It’s an ambitious slate, but one no longer thought impossible.

Some worried these solo films didn’t have a chance of standing up next to the monster that was “The Avengers.” Then came the “Iron Man 3” trailer … it’s as if Whedon’s work made his fellow directors bolder, more ambitious.

Speaking of ambitions, Marvel is taking theirs to television for a project that promises to resurrect one of the film universe’s most beloved characters.

Fans knew there was great potential for the “S.H.I.E.L.D” series with Whedon’s creative power behind it. What they never imagined was that it would signal the return of Agent Phil Colson, whose sacrifice was the final kick in the pants the Avengers needed to put aside their differences.

How Colson will return has yet to be revealed. But there are several possibilities. The easiest way out would be to feature Colson in flashbacks. Another simple explanation is the series takes place before the events in “Avengers.” Or perhaps Nick Fury lied about Colson’s death, using the lie to motivate his team.

A fourth possibility should excite comic fans. Near the beginning of “Avengers,” Stark makes a flippant remark about life model decoys. Coincidence or foreshadowing? It would be a stroke of genius to facilitate Colson’s return as a life model decoy still working for the agency. Or explain away his “death” as the demise of a decoy.

However Colson rejoins the universe it will be welcome. As would the inclusion of another rumored cast member, Summer Glau, who portrayed River Tam in Whedon’s “Firefly” and “Serenity.”

Nothing may be the same since “Avengers,” but maybe nothing ever really changes either.

Heather Bremer, a former Herald Bulletin reporter/designer, writes a weekly column on movies, television and pop culture. Contact her at heather ebremer@yahoo.com.

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