It's no surprise that Marvel is planning sequels to Thor and Captain America following the release next year of The Avengers, or that characters like Black Widow and Hawkeye (and Iron Fist and Doctor Strange, for that matter) are being eyed for solo projects. However, it may be news that the studio envisions S.H.I.E.L.D. headlining its own movie.
Following The Avengers, which premieres on May 4, 2012, Feige says, "Thor will go off into a new adventure, and Captain America will continue to explore the modern world in another film of his own. We hope that holds true for the characters appearing in that film — Black Widow, Hawkeye, and the spy organization, S.H.I.E.L.D. — all of whom are more than worthy and capable of carrying their own films. And, we've got a lot of other characters we're prepping and getting ready for film debuts: the world of martial arts, these great cosmic space fantasies, Dr. Strange, and the magic side of the Marvel Universe. There are many, many stories to be mined."
It should be noted that Feige's comment about the Captain America sequel indicates that the story's setting may not be as up in the air as screenwriters Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus had suggested. Instead of a further exploration of the Sentinel of Liberty's World War II adventures, it looks as if we'll see Steve Rogers in the modern Marvel Universe. (Maybe there's still hope for that Winter Soldier storyline?)
But to the matter at hand, a movie centering on S.H.I.E.L.D. seems almost inevitable when you consider the casting of the charismatic Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, the popularity and expanding role of Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson, the addition of Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill, the use of the fictional agency as a marketing tool and the increased presence of the spy organization in Thor (in which operatives all drive Honda Acuras). So perhaps a spinoff project has always been in the cards.