There's a lot going on behind the scenes at Marvel Studios these days, and there's no end to the rumors about what's next for the best superhero movie universe. I've been half-assedly tracking some of these rumors and have now decided to relay them back to you, with some additional insight from my ever-so analytical brain.
Iron Man 3
There's been a ton of stuff! Some of it is really spoilery if true, so be quite wary of what you read from here on:
First up, Radioactive Man! According to reports out of China, actor Xueqi Wang has been hired to play a character named Chen Wu in Iron Man 3. Devoted Marvelites will recognize that as the real name of Radioactive Man - not the guy from The Simpsons. Introduced in 1963 as a Thor villain, Radioactive Man is a Red Chinese turned green Chinese when he bombards himself with radiation in order to give himself superpowers, as was the rage in the Silver Age. Radioactive Man absorbs and controls radiation, and he can use absorbed radiation to make himself strong or heal wounds or do whatever the writers need.
If this is true - and it's looking likely - Wu will probably have a very small role, as this is all happening quite close to the end of production on Iron Man 3. But! If you combine Radioactive Man with some other names being floated for Marvel Phase Two villains, like Enchantress and the Executioner in Thor: The Dark World and Baron Zemo in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, you begin coming up with the first line-up of The Masters of Evil, The Avenger's version of the Legion of Doom. Could Masters of Evil be the villains in The Avengers 2, working under Thanos or preparing his way in Avengers 3? This studio likes to plan ahead...
Also: a big rumor is that the finale of Iron Man 3 will see Iron Man controlling a fleet of 40 Iron Man armors. This would explain why his newest armor has been referred to as the Mark 47.
Thor: The Dark World
This one comes with a helluva grain of salt. It seems there's a Twitter account from a guy named Roger Wardell who might be spilling inside info about Marvel movies. Maybe, maybe not! This is the 21st century movie reporting game. The pros in favor of Wardell: he appears to have made some tweets about Marvel Studios movies that were later proven true. The cons: he's some guy on Twitter.
One of the things that he has tweeted that everybody is excited about is a hint that Dr. Strange might be in Thor: The Dark World. Alongside that, he tweeted that Viggo Mortensen is in talks to appear in one of the Phase Two films. Thor makes some sense, and if that's the case, Dr. Strange might make sense. I'm not quite sure I see it, but it would be an interesting choice. I think Viggo brings a spacey quality that would be perfect for the Master of the Mystic Arts.
Guardians of the Galaxy
This is hardly news, but it does confirm that James Gunn is writing and directing Guardians of the Galaxy. While in Toronto promoting his new film, Much Ado About Nothing, Joss Whedon was beset by the usual vultures from MTV asking him questions about a zillion things not related to Shakespeare. One was Guardians. Joss' words:
"James is what makes me think it will work... I myself was sort of like, 'Well, I liked Rocket Raccoon as a kid, but I'm not sure how that plays [to a wider audience].' And then they said, 'Well, we're thinking about using James Gunn.' And I said, 'Oh, then no, you're fine.' He is so off the wall, and so crazy, but so smart, such a craftsman and he builds from his heart. He loves the raccoon. Needs the raccoon."
"This is the guy who wrote 'The Specials.' People don't understand how influential that movie was about heroes, about taking heroes and making them mundane... And [he directed] 'Super.'"
Whedon said that Gunn "has barely started" on the script for "Guardians," but that he already has a take on the film that's sure to set fans on fire.
"He has a very twisted take on it, but it all comes from a real love for the material. It's going to be hard for the humans to keep up... I know he's going to come from left field and I'm going to go, 'What?' And then, 'Of course, why didn't I think of that?' And then I'm going to beat him!"
That's simply back scratching from one Marvel employee to another, but it does confirm that Gunn's on the film and that Marvel isn't shying away from the weirdness inherent in the concept.