As excited as we all are for Joss Whedon's The Avengers to debut on May 4, it's but one rung in the ladder that Marvel Studios has been building since 2008's Iron Man, and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige is one of the guys in charge of that ladder. Feige talked to plenty of reporters at last week's world premiere of The Avengers and gave out some hints as to what to expect in the future from Marvel. We've known for a while that, in addition to more installments in the Thor, Captain America and Iron Man franchises, the producers also have projects in the works based on Ant-Man, the Guardians of the Galaxy and The Inhumans. The only official news right now is that Iron Man 3 will open on May 3, 2013, Thor 2 on Nov. 15, 2013, and Captain America 2 on April 4, 2014, and that there's a fourth, unnamed film on the slate for 2014.
On the subject of the Guardians of the Galaxy film, Feige confirmed to Crave Online it will be based on the current incarnation of the team, and will feature fan-favorite characters Rocket Raccoon and Groot.
"We are very excited about bringing things like that, maybe things exactly like that, to the screen," he said. "When you tell people, you know what would be really cool? This movie, and there's a raccoon, and there's a tree ... And they go, 'What?' And people like you know what it is, and get excited. And the majority of people go, 'Did you say a raccoon and a tree?' 'Oh yeah, they're going to steal the whole movie. They're hilarious.' 'Okay, I'll believe it when I see it.' I like that."
Aside from a few release dates, nothing official has been said about the follow-up movies or other installments in the Marvel Movie Universe. However, Feige did tell Superhero Hype a few things about how the characters will split off and go their own way post-Avengers, noting that it's important for the individual films to work well on their own.
"Tony Stark can go home to Malibu and deal with his own circle of friends and his own sort of military industrial complex that the world of Stark Industries inhabits," he said. "Thor, as you will see, initially leaves the planet and goes back to Asgard and has to deal with the Nine Realms, and to reconnect with Jane Foster. Cap is the only one that can't go home again. His home is gone, and how he deals with the modern era will be the crux of that movie."
"Well, no," he said. "This was the other shot. Right? I mean, this was the third appearance of Hulk and everything that we had and were going for, we put in to Hulk's appearance in Avengers. So, I love that people are saying that and are feeling that way about Hulk, but mission accomplished at this point. And the way we go forward, we'll see. But it was a long road to get to this point. Although, I will say, after the screening, I heard various arguments over who was their favorite. Which is my favorite thing: Arguing what was the favorite moment or character. And the fact that so many of them are saying Hulk feels very, very good. Where we go next, we'll see. But we'll be very careful about it and deliberate -- as we were in how we wanted to bring him back in Avengers."
Feige also danced around the topic of Captain America having a sidekick in the sequel to his film. "It is interesting that you ask that question," Feige said. "And I'm not going to give you an answer. But I will give you kudos for pointing that out and recognizing that." He went on to confirm that the time when Cap palled around with Falcon in the comics "was a fun era" without explaining further.
The Avengers opens May 4.