|The first 'Guardians of the Galaxy' concept art by Charlie Wen|
First up we have Guardians of the Galaxy, a franchise I fully admit I know basically nothing about, save it being 'the one with the raccoon'. Everyone else is pretty excited about it, and that concept art looks fantastic, so I'm going to spend the next two years before release getting up to speed. The one thing I do know (but correct me if I'm wrong) is that these guys like to punch on with Thanos quite often, so I'm guessing this will all be paving the way for a big old Avengers/Guardians team up in Avengers 2. The thought of that many heroes in one movie makes my head hurt a bit, but I'm SURE it'll all be under control. We'll get to meet Rocket Raccoon and the rest of his galaxy guarding friends on the 1st of August 2014.
Edgar Wright's Ant-Man has been a long time coming, but with a test reel unveiled at SDCC it finally looks like things are starting to move forward. Original plans were to have both the Hank Pym AND Scott Lang incarnations of the character in an 'origin/flash forward to modern day' type setup, but a lot may have changed since 2007, so until we get an official word, we'll just have to keep guessing. The only casting rumour was more fanboy hope than anything else; Nathan Fillion's name was thrown into the rumour mill, but he himself threw water on that at the recent Hero Complex Film Festival by responding with apathy when questioned about his interest in the character. Sure, he could be foxing...but probably not. Test footage was very impressive by all accounts, showing Ant-Man using his size changing abilities in combat (including running along the barrel of a pistol while miniaturised). It didn't show him chatting to a bunch of ants, but I'm sure that will come later.
Our favourite All-American square, er, I mean, HERO, will be back on our screens in 2014 in 'The Winter Soldier', which pretty much confirms that Bucky will be back. Will he be evil? Will he have robot bits? Will Steve angst over it? SURE HOPE SO. The unsubstantiated rumours have been going CRAZY since this title was unveiled, the most interesting being that Black Widow and Hawkeye may be fighting alongside Cap. It's canon that Natasha hooks up with both Bucky and Clint at various points in her timeline, so it will be interesting to see if they reference that at all in the movie. I'm sure Bucky will eventually win her over on the strength of his fabulous hair.
Speaking of fabulous hair, we'll be seeing the golden-locked Asgardian and his greasy little brother the soonest out of all our superfriends (excluding Iron Man), but we still have to wait a whole year for it. AW MAN. My google-fu hasn't let me find any solid answers in terms of writers and directors, but one thing we know for sure is that Kenneth Branagh won't be back. It's a massive shame, but hearing that Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones) and Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan) are likely to be directing and writing respectively dulls the pain a bit. They'll need to write 'NO BOOBS' at the top of Jones' run sheet each day just to make sure he doesn't lapse into any old GoT habits.
As horrible as I thought Iron Man 2 was, I'm still super excited for the third instalment. I mean, they can't make something that bad TWICE, right? The SDCC crowd got to see an exclusive clip of the film, due out May next year. I'm guessing there were snipers on the roof to pick off anyone recording the footage, thus why it hasn't ended up on YouTube. It's been pretty excruciating hearing the second hand accounts of 'Tony did something awesome! And then the suit did an awesome thing! And then Rhodey was there! And and and...!' without a visual, but I'm sure the rest of us non-SDCC'd plebs will get to see something eventually. EVENTUALLY. *dramatic sigh* The clip also featured the unveiling of Sir Ben Kingsley as Mandarin, all blinged-up on his throne. Just hurry up and be May already, geez.