In anticipation of Thor: The Dark World arriving in theaters on November 8, we sat down for an exclusive chat with Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige that covered everything except Chris Hemsworth's bare chest (yes, this Thor sequel continues the tradition of Thor going shirtless in at least one scene, so ladies beware). While our full interview will arrive closer to release, we wanted to drop some awesome nuggets on you a little earlier since we know you're itching for any news regarding a little sequel called The Avengers: Age of Ultron, due out on May 1, 2015.
The Avengers sequel will arrive at the end of Marvel's "Phase Two" initiative, which began with Iron Man 3 and continues with Thor: The Dark World this November before tossing it to Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April 4, 2014) and, finally, Guardians of the Galaxy (August 1, 2014). Apart from the fact that Age of Ultron will involve the team of superheroes squaring off against a seemingly indestructible artificial intelligence (to be portrayed by the great character actor James Spader), there's not much we know about 2015's most anticipated sequel. "It's still early days, but I will say that like the first Avengers, [The Avengers: Age of Ultron] is the culmination of the films before it while at the same time being structured in a way that it could stand on its own," Feige told us. "That's one of the big challenges with all our films. And the script that's coming together for Age of Ultron is absolutely influenced by all the movies post-Avengers that lead up to it, but at the same time structurally it'll be able to stand on its own. It's exciting to see exactly how different the world of the Avengers is at the beginning of Avengers 2 than it was at the end of The Avengers, in large part because of the stories in between."
Marvel has already started mapping out the third phase of this recent initiative, and if audiences continue to devour these movies then Marvel will definitely keep making 'em. "Realistically, [we've planned] just into the beginnings of [phase] three, in terms of practicality," he told us. "In terms of pipe dreams, we've talked about [phases] four and five, but that's just sort of wishful thinking."
Perhaps the biggest competition for the Avengers in 2015 won't be Ultron, but another sequel (of sorts) that will team up Batman and Superman in their first big-budgeted, live-action movie. Is Marvel feeling the pressure from its DC competition? "Ya know, I think there's something like seven weeks between them, which in moviegoing is really a lifetime. So I don't think it's really a showdown of any kind," Feige said. When we pressed for his thoughts on Batman vs. Superman, of course the Master of Teases would leave us with one last tease. "I'm excited to see it," he replied.