As it is on Earth, so it is in the heavens. That is to say, this week we’ve received news from the Joss Whedon camp telling us about his continuing work expanding the Marvel Movieverse both on Earth and in outer space.
First, on Friday, Comic Book Movie gave us a close-up look at the mid-credits show-stopper, and presumably Avengers 2‘s big baddie, Thanos, via concept art unlocked on the Avengers DVD. The artwork doesn’t reveal all too much about Thanos in regards to plot, but it does show that he poses a threat to the Avengers which was lacking in the first film of the franchise – a big bruiser capable of taking on several team members at once. As awesome as Hulk’s fight with Loki was, imagine Hulk and Thor tackling Thanos at the same time, while Iron Man shoots repulser rays from afar, Cap throws his shield, Hawkeye fires an explosive missile, and the Black Widow, uh, shoots him. For me, the design of the alien army at the finale of The Avengers was the weakest aspect of the film – they seemed lik generic hordes of soldiers that would have been equally at home in video game shooters like Halo or Gears of War – and the presence of a distinct bad guy capable of a visually sumptuous physical altercation with the superheroes is one of the key things I’m excited about in a sequel. Hopefully we’ll also get a few more females (Scarlet Witch, Wasp, and/or She-Hulk anyone?) to add into that pile-on, too. Wait, that didn’t sound right…
In further Marvel Movieverse news, yesterday, as our own Amanda R. covered, TVLine provided some casting details for the upcoming S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot that Whedon is helming. Not only will S.H.I.E.L.D. apparently not feature any of the characters from Marvel’s movies, such as Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, Cobie Smulders’ Maria Hill, or Clark Gregg’s late, lamented Agent Coulson, but it will also feature all-new S.H.I.E.L.D. agents created specifically for the show, and not pulled from Marvel’s vast library of characters such as Dum Dum Dugan, Gabriel Jones, or Clay Quartermain. This is not to say, of course, that such characters won’t appear in supporting roles are as special guest spots, but the core cast will likely be new creations beholden to no previous continuity. Though this might at first blush appear disappointing to loyal fans of either the film or the comics, ultimately it sounds like it would be for the best, so that the series can breath on its own without having to adjust itself to either preconceived character notions or the continuity of the tentpole Marvel films.
Most importantly, though, these two pieces of news reveal that Joss Whedon is, indeed, hard at work in his role as the master of Marvel’s Movieverse. Marvel is going to get everything out of him that they can while he remains under contract with them, and, so long as it doesn’t impinge upon his creativity, energy, or distinct creative voice, I couldn’t be happier that they are.