Perhaps best to treat this one with caution given that, in spite of endless speculation, just about no-one picked Bane as the bad guy for The Dark Knight Rises. So bearing that in mind... 14 months ahead of the release of Marvel mega-blockbuster The Avengers, the villains may just have been revealed. Read on for more on them and a first teaser. Oh, and possible SPOILERS loom.
The first issue of The Avengers, published in 1963, saw the original roster of the super-team coming together when Loki, Asgardian deity of mischief, used his powers to trick the Hulk into fighting his hated stepbrother Thor, and Iron Man, the Wasp and Ant-Man all also horned in on the action. The latter five eventually joined forces to see off Loki, and decided to band together under the collective name of the Avengers, thereby building a lasting legacy of cooperative heroism. Aw.
For the record, the Hulk naffs off just one issue later.
Latino Review is reporting that Marvel Studios is sticking closely to that original template, with Loki once again serving as inaugural foe for the Avengers in Joss Whedon’s upcoming movie based on the comic book series.
Young British actor Tom Hiddleston will reprise the role for Whedon, having already played the character for this summer’s Thor film, and certainly don’t bet against the comic book plot being followed to the extent that Loki will engineer a conflict between the Hulk (a mo-capped Mark Ruffalo) and the other Avengers (Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, plus assorted others).
That is not all that LR reveals though, with the outlet suggesting that Loki will be aided and abetted in his evil-doing by another classic Marvel nemesis. Or rather nemeses.
According to ‘inside sources’, The Avengers will see the Norse trickster getting his dirty paws on the Cosmic Cube, the reality-bending super-weapon that Hugo Weaving’s Red Skull is set to wield against Chris Evans’ Captain America in the forthcoming film bearing the latter’s name. Loki apparently then uses the Cube to summon to Earth those galactic tyrants... the Skrulls! (cue flash of lightning and huge synth chord)
The Skrulls are an Andromedan race of green-skinned, furrow-chinned shape-shifters, who first surfaced all the way back in Fantastic Four issue two, where they were billed thusly: ‘They were merciless! They were inhuman! They had powers far greater than earthmen!’. Which presumably means they would be able to produce an Oscars telecast worth watching.
Although the Skrulls had previously been rumoured as possible Avengers villains, the Fantastic Four film franchise had appeared a potential impediment to them appearing in any Marvel-produced movie, as 20th Century Fox still retains the rights to the FF quadrant of the Marvel Universe. However producer Kevin Feige has confirmed that while Fox has a claim to the individual figure of the Super-Skrull, there is no legal bar to the Skrulls as a race featuring in The Avengers.
Rumour, innuendo, conjecture and an inverted pyramid of piffle? Well, possibly. But all could be revealed for certain in the not too dim-and-distant future, as Ain’t It Cool News claims that a teaser trailer has been shot for The Avengers, despite principal photography having not yet commenced. The story is that the trailer could go out attached to either of Thor (released 29 April in the UK) or Captain America (29 July over here), and it features Hiddleston as Loki, thereby confirming the character’s villainous role in Whedon’s movie.
The Avengers is due for release on 4 May 2012. Looking forward to it? Which characters would you like to see included?