John Gholson is a life-long Avengers fanboy who has previously covered all manner of superhero news at AOL. After dabbling with comic book self-publishing in the '90s, John moved on to study sequential art at the Savannah College of Art & Design, and currently produces a regular web comic, ‘Appetite for Destruction,’ for Tapsauce.com. He’ll also buy any comic with Hawkeye on the cover. You can read his Avengers Countdown here at Movies.com every other Monday.
I’ve always felt that, in the Avengers ranks, there was no line drawn between the male and female members of the team (neither in power and strength, nor in the overall “coolness” factor). How, then, did we end up with an Avengers movie that features a single female member? The Avengers is no Boy’s Club, but you wouldn’t be able to tell that looking at the cinematic version of the team, which features Black Widow as the only woman on the roster.
Could they have easily included one or two more female members? Definitely, and I’m hoping that we’ll see more female superheroes in The Avengers 2.
It might be a little tricky to bring her to the screen, since her origin is so closely tied to one-time boyfriend and scientist Hank Pym. If Ant-Man goes ahead as a feature film (with Pym as the shrinking science hero), it would be easy to include plucky Janet van Dyne as his love interest and partner, setting up her alter-ego Wasp for an eventual Avengers film. She’s a backbone of the team, and I’ve always enjoyed her witty, assured interplay with the Avengers’ “Big Three” (Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man).
Recommended casting: Emma Stone
Thanks to the X-Men films, audiences are familiar enough with mutants to buy a mutant member of The Avengers. Unfortunately, due to Magneto being tied up with 20th Century Fox, you’d probably have to skip over the details of her origin (she’s Magneto’s daughter). Instead, follow her origins as an Avenger, starting her off as a threat to The Avengers who changes her ways due to Iron Man’s heroic influence. Her powers (which alter probability in her favor) might be a little difficult to convey onscreen, but no more so than the Cosmic Cube, which I never expected to see in a movie.
Recommended casting: Gemma Arterton
This one’s a breeze -- lawyer Jennifer Walters gets an emergency blood transfusion from her cousin, Bruce Banner. You don’t have to change her origin one bit to get her on film. One of my favorite character dynamics in Avengers comics is the constant picking that goes on between Hawkeye and She-Hulk, and she makes a great Hulk-like addition to the team, minus the Hulk’s unpredictatiblity.
Recommended casting: Emily Deschanel (with a lot of CG help, to transform her from Bones to muscles.)
This character has the most convoluted history of any on this list, but Marvel has stated publicly that they would love to position her as one of the premiere heroes of the Marvel Universe. Let’s boil her down to her basics -- Carol Danvers is former American military, imbued with alien powers and memories through an accident involving the alien race, the Kree.
Now, how do you work that into a film, without introducing the Kree? You could always just have it be an accident with some unspecified alien object, but that feels like a bit of a cheat. If the alien Skrulls are part of The Avengers movie, as rumored, then Kree technology might not be such a stretch (in the Marvel Universe, the Kree and Skrull are constantly at war). We may have to take a “wait and see” approach before we start spit-balling on how to bring Ms. Marvel to film.
Recommended casting: Katee Sackhoff
Are there any women you’d like to see in an Avengers sequel? Who would you cast?
Avengers News Assembled!
-- Comicbookmovie.com is running a poll that pits Earth’s Mightiest Heroes against Marvel’s Merry Mutants. You can cast your vote as to who win here. If you’re reading this, I’ll assume you’re voting Avengers?
-- Marvel’s love affair with Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) continues as a short film series, providing some extra connection between the individual Avengers’ films. ‘The Consultant’ is the first in the series, and is an exclusive special feature on the upcoming home video release of Thor. Marvel has released a short preview of ‘The Consultant’...
-- Samuel L. Jackson confirmed to IFC that Nick Fury is more than a cameo in The Avengers, “You don't have to wait until the end of the movie to see me. I'm actually around the whole movie and I do a lot more. I have action scenes and I actually do things to people in this movie.” Sounds like Jackson is getting a little antsy just showing up and spouting minor exposition for minutes at a time.
-- How do The Avengers handle “Don’t ask, don’t tell?” AvengersWeb may have the answer in their latest video...
The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Episode Guide
Season 1, Episode 4: “Meet Captain America”
Kang the Conqueror searches through time, fixating on an unspecified event from the past involving Captain America, as the moment that causes the eventual destruction of Kang’s future timeline. Kang witnesses Captain America’s last stand against the Red Skull, as Skull uses the Bifrost to bring mythical animals from other realms under his control. This is also the pivotal moment in which Bucky Barnes loses his life and Cap is seemingly lost forever in the tundra. Unfortunately for Kang, he can’t pinpoint the event, so he travels backward, to present day, in order to subjugate the Earth and buy himself more time to solve his chronol problem.
I’ve always had an issue with Kang as a villain, because of his complicated backstory and unclear motivations. Here, writer Paul Giacoppo streamlines Kang into a threat anyone can understand. He’s a megalomaniac who uses time travel to get his way, no matter the cost. Once again, this show sets up a hero (Captain America) and a villain (Kang) as part of its larger tapestry, without showing its hand in regards to where the story is going. Kudos to the animation as well, as this is probably the best-looking episode of The Avengers so far.
Marvel Universe Watch: The biggest cameo so far is in this episode, and I’m not going to ruin it here. There’s a beloved and surprising Marvel character fighting side-by-side with Dum Dum Dugan and the Howling Commandos.
Season 1, Episode 5: “The Man In the Ant Hill”
This episode seems split into two parts, one featuring Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne, and a shorter segment featuring the origin of Black Panther. Pym encounters Ulysses Klaw (voiced by Mark Hammill) while studying the mysterious Wakandan metal Vibranium, and barely escapes with his life. He returns to the States to a new threat -- the mutant Whirlwind. Van Dyne, using her alias as the Wasp, handily defeats the villain, and manages to talk Pym into splitting his time between scientific research and actual superheroics. Meanwhile, back in Wakanda, Man-Ape defeats T’Chaka for the Wakandan throne, leading Prince T’Challa to take up his father’s guise as Black Panther.
I came away from this episode with one thought: I really miss the Wasp. She’s such a big part of the core Avengers to me, and it’s a shame she isn’t around anymore in the Marvel U. As for the episode, it’s ok. It doesn’t make much sense for Pym to be using the Ant-Man persona if van Dyne has to talk him into being a superhero at the end of their storyline, nor does it make any sense for her to be fluttering around as Wasp, if this is her first big supervillain fight. I also feel like a whole episode could’ve been devoted to Black Panther’s origin, but I think they’re trying to speed things up a little bit to get to the actual formation of the team.
For those keeping score, we’re five episodes into The Avengers, and there’s still no Avengers.
Marvel Universe Watch: In the Big House (where the prison guards look suspiciously like Ultron), we see Mandrill, Arnim Zola, Grey Gargoyle, and The Mad Thinker, but the best cameo comes in the form of a visual nod to the film Predator. Ulysses Klaw’s henchmen are obviously Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Jesse Venture, and Sonny Landham.
The Avengers, a Joss Whedon film, stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and Chris Hemsworth. There are 270 days until release.