Rumors about the villain, or villains, in The Avengers have been nothing if not persistent. First it was the alien Kree and Skrulls. Then it was Loki. Then it was Thanos. Then it was Loki and the Skrulls. Then it was Loki and the Skrulls, only they aren't being called Skrulls. And most recently, the Red Skull was seemingly thrown in for good measure.
It's all so, so confusing. Luckily, though, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige is there to clear things up. Kind of. In the new issue of Empire -- the one in which you'll find those new Avengers images -- he's asked directly about the Skrull and Red Skull talk:
"Who said they were aliens?" he teases. Beings from the Nine Realms, then, ventures Empire? "Closer...It's not Skrulls, I've been clear about that. Beyond that, we want to hide it. The identity of the alien race is not impactful. It exists in the comic books, but we're not setting up the Kree-Skrull war or anything like that."
"Was Skull vaporised at the end of the movie, or thrust into another realm?" asks Feige. "That remains to be seen. It would be fun to see Skull in future, but he's not in this one." Whedon though is a little more circumspect when Empire confronts him. "I do have a comment on that," he says, before pulling a move worthy of Loki himself. "It's...oh, you're breaking up!"
So definitely no Red Skull, but there is, as most everyone has long believed, an alien threat in the film -- just not the Skrulls. The reference to the Nine Realms throws a bit of a curve, though: Is Loki mustering the forces of Muspelheim or Svartalfheim? Demons and Dark Elves would technically be alien.
Directed by Joss Whedon, The Avengers stars Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans as Captain America, Mark Ruffalo as the Incredible Hulk, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson, Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill and Stellan Skarsgård as Dr. Selvig. It opens May 4.
(via Superhero Hype)