Thanks to various sources around the Internet, we have excerpts from Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige's interview with SFX Magazine, where he talks about the next two big Marvel movies after Captain America: The Winter Soldier, being of which are director Joss Whedon's Avengers: Age of Ultron and James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy.
First up is the sequel to Marvel's The Avengers, which was the biggest film of 2012, and is the third highest grossing movie of all time. Principle photography begins this March, shooting primarily at London's Pinewood Studios. The entire cast will return along with some new heroes and villains. Kevin Feige offered more insight into how the title came to be, and why Ultron was chosen as the main villain this time out, before explaining the film's roster.
"We didn't want to merely have a '2′ after Avengers so we wanted to give it a subtitle. We have various things that we were looking at and Age of Ultron - which just happened to be a the name of a comic book series as well - was our favorite. I first met James Spader two or three years ago. I thought it would be great to have him in our universe and we finally found the right role with Joss's version of Ultron.
Joss had a great idea for the character and how to use him to unify the Avengers again and acquire their services once more. He was a favorite. Joss and I were on the production of the first Avengers movie and we started having conversations about Ultron, and how he could come about and how we could adapt his origin to the continuity of the cinematic universe. It literally was just little discussions between takes but thankfully Joss files all that kind of stuff away in his brain. Then when the time arrived, he started outing it, so he went back to that and built a very good story."
It should be noted that the film will not be an exact adapation of the comic book of the same name. It will introduce different characters and other villains, some of which have not been revealed at this time. With so many characters, and the inclusion of a few new faces, Kevin explained a little bit behind the process of introducing and re-introducing certain elements, and how they plan to keep a handle on the overall roster.
"It's always a balance with any movie, not to overwhelm it with too many story elements. Certainly when it comes to comic book movies, you can fall into the trap of having too many villains and in the case of team-based movies, having too many heroes. But what Joss has in mind to bring those characters into the story happens in a very natural fashion over the course of the story. It's also the tradition of the Avengers to switch up the roster every now and again and to have new characters coming in. It's just part of the fun, but we wouldn't have included them if it had just been a case of 'Oh, we want two new figures, two new costumes.' It very much flows with the story that Joss is creating."
This begs the question, 'Will some of the Avengers we already know be kicked off the team? Or perhaps even...Killed?' Right now, that type of speculation is being ignored, as too retain some of the film's mystery. Equally important to this ongoing and expanding universe is Guardians of the Galaxy. While some (our site included) have speculated that Marvel might have its first legitimate bomb on their hands with this sci-fi epic containing gloriously goofy overtones, Kevin Feige remains nonpulsed at the prospects that it might fail to attract a mainstream audience.
"We really believe in them. And not only in the way they've been portrayed in the comic books over the years, but also in the new ideas that we have to bring them to the screen. There's definitely a comparison to be made between Iron Man & Guardians of the Galaxy because it's easy to forget that Iron Man was not well known when that first film came out. Back then I had to spend a lot time explaining to people that Iron Man is not a robot and he's actually a person and a scientist, who builds this suit. He doesn't fly like Superman, he has to obey the laws of physics. Likewise with Guardians of the Galaxy; it's based on a comic that has a certain following but nobody should feel bad if they've never heard of it because we're expecting that most people haven't."
Why should people give it a chance?
"Guardians of the Galaxy is unique because while the hero Star-Lord is human and from Earth, hopefully the audience can relate to the adventures that he goes on as they see it through his eyes."
Associate producer Jonathan Schwartz also chimed in with a few thoughts on the production, explaining more of the look behind this sprawling space adventure, which should connect with old and young alike.
"When James Gunn came aboard he brought a completely unique visual sensibility to it, harkening back to pulpy '50s science fiction. One of the things that he mentioned in his original pitch was that science fiction as we understand it has become greyer and sleeker and blacker and darker, this kind of Blade Runner world. We all love Blade Runner but that's not all that science fiction can be, so the world that you're going to see in Guardians of the Galaxy is colorful and bright and pulpy, but it's also lived-in and grounded. And finding the balance between those two things is what's driving a lot of this universe."
What do you think? Still excited for both movies?
Avengers: Age of Ultron comes to theaters May 1st, 2015 and stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr., Elizabeth Olsen, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Cobie Smulders, Jeremy Renner. The film is directed by Joss Whedon.
Guardians of the Galaxy was released August 1st, 2014 and stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan. The film is directed by James Gunn.