3 Questions for Marvel Ahead of Its ‘Age of Ultron’ Reveal

On March 18, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. takes a back seat to the Avengers. Instead of Agent Coulson and his team spanning the globe in search of the Clairvoyant, Walt Disney's (NYSE: DIS  ) ABC network will air a special titled, Marvel Studios: Assembling a Universe.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is already responsible for $5.67 billion in worldwide box office grosses. Source: Marvel Entertainment.

Marvel’s hour-long documentary promises details regarding how its movie franchises came to be, and an up-close look at new footage for Avengers: Age of Ultron and this summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy, among other projects.

Fans and investors should also like the timing. Captain America: The Winter Soldier opens in 17 territories, including the U.K., in late March while the film’s U.S. debut is scheduled for April 4. Marvel’s documentary preview could add momentum ahead of release.

Meanwhile, last summer’s San Diego Comic-Con marks the last time anyone saw anything related to Marvel’s sequel to the mega-hit The Avengers:

This short teaser first aired in September. Sources: Marvel Entertainment, MOVIECLIPS Trailers.

All that changes when ABC airs the Marvel special. What specifically can fans and investors expect to see? Our top comics and pop culture analysts ponder the possibilities, offering three questions that still need addressing:

Leo Sun: Why is Ultron coming before Ant-Man?
Michael Douglas has been cast as the original Ant-Man, Hank Pym, who created Ultron (an insane AI version of Pym's persona) in the comic book. Paul Rudd will be playing the newer version of the character, Scott Lang. Like many fans, I’m wondering why Ultron will appear in Age of Ultron when Ant-Man will be subsequently released as the launch title for Phase 3.

I'm also wondering if there’s any truth behind the rumor that the film version of Ultron will be a psychotic version of Iron Man’s AI buddy Jarvis -- which might be easier to understand for audiences who have been following the Phase 1 and 2 films instead of the comics.

I also think we're getting into unfamiliar territory for movie audiences not acquainted with the comics, with Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man. Therefore, I would like to see if Marvel has any plans to integrate Blade, Punisher, Daredevil, and Ghost Rider back into its Cinematic Universe either on TV or the big screen.

Steve Symington: When will see the Hulk in another solo film?
Marvel's special should dish plenty on the Universe's newest characters, but I really want to see if the Age of Ultron clip will reveal their plans for everybody's favorite "enormous green rage monster."

Recent footage from the set of Age of Ultron apparently depicts terrified residents fleeing Hulk's latest temper tantrum in South Africa, which lends credence to speculation he'll play an even bigger role this time around.  This also begs the question of when (not if) Hulk will receive his own sequel -- something all but confirmed by the six-picture deal signed by Mark Ruffalo in 2012.

Also note the special airs on Tuesday, March 18 at 8 p.m., which means it's temporarily taking over the time slot of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. That's two episodes from now and a week after Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. features Lady Sif in its second highly anticipated Thor crossover. Plenty can happen between now and then, but it seems to set a high bar for Marvel's promise of "sneak peeks at the future of" the show.

Tim Beyers: Who will the next Avengers be?
A new team of Avengers is coming and it appears Paul Bettany, as Vision, became part of it when the studio added him to its roster for Age of Ultron last month. He’ll be joined by the existing cast of Avengers and the mutants Scarlet Witch (played by Elizabeth Olsen) and Quicksilver (played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson).

Meanwhile, Marvel has three untitled films scheduled. I’d like to see the studio names the characters planned for those projects -- as much to satisfy my curiosity as to familiarize newer fans with the idea that the Avengers are a dynamic team. Rumors suggest Black Panther and Doctor Strange as likely additions, though it’s unclear whom they'd replace.

Now it’s your turn to weigh in. What are your 3 questions for Marvel? What do you hope to see in the March 18 documentary? Leave a comment in the box below to let us know where you stand, and whether you would buy, sell, or short Disney stock at current prices.

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Read/Post Comments (21) | Recommend This Article (18)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On March 02, 2014, at 11:06 AM, Richardragan wrote:

    I must watch this special ..

  • Report this Comment On March 02, 2014, at 11:36 AM, Aldirick wrote:

    I am a comic book fan that enjoys the movies a well. They have to make the movies a little different, if they don't then all the comic books would spoil the movies. As to the characters they recently got back, DD, Ghost Rider and Blade, I do believe they are working on a Netflix series with them.

    As to the question of Ultron, who is to say that Pym does not make Ultron? It is possible that the storyline will say he did and is now redirecting his efforts to prevent something similar from happening in the future.

    A Hulk solo film would be nice, especially with the Leader being still out there. Also seeing Banner trying to maintain some control is always nice, that duality of man.

    The Avengers team list has always been able to be rotated. THe fact that the first movie has all the core members in it was great, it called back to the beginning of the title in the comic books. If they try to travel too far away from that, it may take away from what people are interested in, yes the bad guy will change his strategy to deal with the heavy hitters like Hulk and Thor and Ironman. But does the team need to change, or are they planning for a greater story in the future, one that calls for everyone to be there.

    Infinity Gauntlet anyone?

  • Report this Comment On March 02, 2014, at 11:40 AM, hectoruno wrote:

    Why can't this preview show be put at 9 after Agents of S.H.E.l.L.D.? Why must AOS skip yet another episode? It is late coming back from the Olympics. All the excitement of the last much improved episode is spent. Why must they skip another week?

  • Report this Comment On March 02, 2014, at 12:28 PM, Bryant24 wrote:

    Is Spider-Man going to be part of avengers age of ultron? If not why?

  • Report this Comment On March 02, 2014, at 1:22 PM, USAgent wrote:

    @Bryant24: No he isn't. And it's because Spider-Man's movie rights are with a different studio.

  • Report this Comment On March 02, 2014, at 1:24 PM, Njancek wrote:


    Unless Marvel strips Spiderman from Sony, there's little doubt in my mind that we won't see Spiderman in any future Avengers Movie, at least for this story Arc.


    I'm almost positive I've read before that they're gonna have Pym have nothing to do with Ultron. Only reason I remember this is because I brought up the fact that if it were to be true, then Ultrons origin would be another boring "Military made it, blames the fact Tony Stark created Iron Man, etc etc." Because I'm fairly sure I read it was a military act that created him, but don't quote me on that.

  • Report this Comment On March 02, 2014, at 1:25 PM, USAgent wrote:

    They've pretty much confirmed that in the movies Ant-Man will have nothing to do with Ultron. Even in the teaser Ultron's head is formed from Iron Man's mask.

    And the Ant-man movie will have more to do with Scott Lang as the hero over Hank Pym.

  • Report this Comment On March 02, 2014, at 2:52 PM, ScottW wrote:

    This is what we know for sure: Avengers: Age of Ultron comes out on May 1, 2015. Ant-Man comes out on July 17, 2015. Marvel/Disney has a release date (at the current time) scheduled for May 6, 2016, the same day Warner releases Batman vs. Superman. The third Avengers is likely to be released on May 4, 2018. From what Marvel has said, we can expect 4 more movies to be released after Ant-Man. Without more information, this is what I expect to see: A movie of a new superhero, either Black Panther or Dr. Strange, a third Thor movie, a second Guardians of the Galaxy, and a third Captain America. I know the Feige stated he wanted one new character and one continued character each year, but I can't see 3 of the 5 films between Avengers 2 and 3 being new characters. Furthermore, they still have to expand on the infinity stones/Thanos storyline, which will mean movies based in space, not Earth.

  • Report this Comment On March 02, 2014, at 3:09 PM, minimyk wrote:


  • Report this Comment On March 02, 2014, at 3:12 PM, ldycemnn wrote:

    One way they could merge antman/ultron, is to introduce the "time stone" in avengers 2. Basically ultron found the time stone in the future, came back to the past to destroy the avengers, mention hank and his "daddy issues'.

    This would introduce another portion towards the infinity gaunlet, get pymm involved in the universe, and introduce time travel, just like xmen will later on in the summer.

  • Report this Comment On March 02, 2014, at 4:05 PM, Showstoppa23 wrote:

    I wanna see a silver surfer movie in phase 3 plans.

  • Report this Comment On March 02, 2014, at 4:13 PM, delfra wrote:

    I definitely see BLACK PANTHER & DR. STRANGE solo films introduced in Phase 3, no doubt in my mind about that. I think Phase 3 will consist of 6-7 films. If Phase 3 consists of ANT-MAN, DR. STRANGE, BLACK PANTHER, THOR 3, CAP 3, INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK & AVENGERS 3 I would love it. Perhaps we'll get a Phase 4 line up that consist of MS. MARVEL, INHUMANS, GOTG 2, DR. STRANGE 2, HULK 3 or BLACK PANTHER 2 & NEW AVENGERS.

  • Report this Comment On March 02, 2014, at 4:41 PM, shadx wrote:

    @Showstoppa23 Silver Surfer can't be in phase 3, he belongs to Fox along with the rest of the Fantastic 4, X- Men, and anyone else who primarily appeared in those comics

  • Report this Comment On March 02, 2014, at 5:48 PM, IheartLoki wrote:

    A lot of fans are practically begging for a Loki movie. There is no doubt that Tom Hiddleston can carry a movie, since he steals every scene he is in. The premise is a no brainer really - he failed in the Avengers, Thanos didn't get what he was promised, and Loki was threatened with some pretty serious consequences for failing. Sure, at the moment Loki is 'dead' but surely after Thor 3, he will no longer be dead, unless they kill him off 'again' This seems like a logical follow up...Loki on the run, and not just from Thor.

  • Report this Comment On March 02, 2014, at 6:14 PM, Hoser003 wrote:

    A couple of things.

    1) In reference to the 6 picture contract comment made in the "Steve Symington: When will see the Hulk in another solo film?" section. A multi-picture contract does not, in any way, guarantee any further films. The contracts are made in such a manner as to guarantee that should the studio decide to make more movies with that character, then the actor/actress will be obligated to reprise the role should the studio choose to use them. This means that there is no guarantee that there will be another stand alone Hulk film. The big problem with a stand alone Hulk film is that everyone wants to see the Hulk and not Banner. It is difficult to make a Hulk movie that is predominate Hulk and not Banner due to the nature of the Hulk character as he currently is. I would not expect to see a stand alone Hulk film before phase 4, if ever.

    2) While Ant-Man created Ultron in the comics, it would not make sense in the cinematic universe that Marvel has set up. Tony Stark makes the most sense. Now, with the casting of Michael Douglas as an older Hank Pym, it could be reveled in Avengers 2 that Hank Pym was an old MIT professor of Tony's and that he helped Tony with the base programming of Jarvis. This would give all the comic fans a tip of the hat to Pym as a creator of Ultron but I would not expect it.

    3) The last I heard was that the next new hero movie is going to be Doctor Strange. And to be honest, this will make the more sense than Black Panther at this time. With the inclusion of the Scarlet Witch into the Avengers, Marvel is stuck having to explain her abilities with out her being a mutant as "mutants" are the property of Fox. So having her actually using magic will open the door for a Doctor Strange movie better than a Black Panther. I think that we will see a Black Panther movie in Phase 4. The character is from a technologically advanced country and is highly intelligent. The character makes better sense as an Iron Man replacement following Avengers 3. Remember, Robert Downy Jr. only signed up for 3 more movies following the Avengers. Iron Man 3, Avengers 2 and speculated Avengers 3 since there has been no talk of an Iron Man 4.

    4) As far as the Loki film, I think that Marvel may be waiting to see how Sony does on their already announced villain led films (Venom and Sinister Six). If these films do well then I have no doubt that Marvel will set out to make a Loki film. If they do not do well, then I think Marvel will put a Loki film on the back burner a little longer. As of now, I could see one coming out instead of a Thor 4, but if Sony's villain films fail, Marvel may just reassess their chances of success.

  • Report this Comment On March 03, 2014, at 11:24 AM, mrcarlg200 wrote:

    I hope that if they do another Hulk solo movie that they reboot the series to be more like the comic. They could show in flashback opening credits or as the opening story General Ross going to Bruce Banner to build a new Gamma Bomb for the military. He takes the job and gets introduced to Betty Ross and they could bring in Rick Jones riding across thet testing area and being saved by Banner, who would be caught in the blast and becomes the Hulk. Then they could fast forward to X number of years later with the military chasing the Hulk after the events in the first Avengers movie. Then of course the main story would continue from there. This would be the only time I think comic book fans would appreciate a reboot to a franchise if it went back to use more of the source material.

  • Report this Comment On March 03, 2014, at 12:17 PM, Mentallect wrote:

    Its just as likely Thanos made Ultron as Pym. The technology in Ultron is greater than contemporary Earth tech, and Thanos has science tech far more advanced than even Tony Stark. The other reason is Thanos has the rationale to program a robot which is dedicated to nihilism like Thanos, so they have a natural tie in. I am sure this is probably a reason Ultron was chosen in the 2nd of three Avengers movies in the first place.

  • Report this Comment On March 03, 2014, at 12:29 PM, emegahpa wrote:

    Where/when does Thanos fit in? (He was the villian that we got a quick look at in the mid-credit scene following the Avengers)

  • Report this Comment On March 03, 2014, at 12:48 PM, Phadreus wrote:

    Oy. This is a lot. I read the comments up to Hooser3 and here is my two cents. Besides, Blade, Daredevil, Punisher and Ghost Rider characters which I believe have a great deal og gratis if done right and respected there is Electra. Please don't foget the heroine who came back from death. She would make a good team up movie with Daredevil as well as a great Avenger who need to have dynamic female characters.

    No Hooser3 everybody does not want to see more Hulk and less Bruce Banner. Personally I think the interaction between Banner, Stark and Pym (yes I know Marvel is floshing the idea of making Michael Douglas Hank Pym but Pym and Janet Van Dyke aguably founded the Avengers and it could be managed by making Pym (Douglas) Stark senior and Robert Redford's characters old friends who are trying to maintain some of the integrity which had th US fighting the second World War in a world which has Hydra, and AIM and HAMMER and Thanos and Asgard et al. This could help with the Hank Pym founding the Avengers scenario. I think and have written in other comments with the Fool and others that not only does Marvel need to do more stand alone (or team up movies featuring...) but they need to be integrated more or less. After all this is the bringing of the Marvel Universet to the big screen and it is a Universe or Mythos which should be respected as much as possible. Other characters which need to introduced as soon as possible are: Black Panther and Dr.Strange especially Strange,The Wasp, Ms. Marvel, The Valkerie, The Vision, MoonKnight, Crystal of the Inhumans, Hercules, Nova, She Hulk Mantis and WonderMan. Of course this is just for starters. No they don't have to say anything about where Scarlett Witch and Pietro actually come from awaiting the day when they studios will see the merit of allowing the two aspects of the Marvel Universe to get back together otherwise they don't need to get into that right now. I am sure that Warner Brothers or whoever has X-men didn't get rights to exclusively have all mutants come only from their studio...that would be like the two Hercules movies coming out this year. No body else can make a movie about mutants? We don't have to know right now that they are Magneto's children. What has to happen with this movie thing is that it has to build over time and I'm afraid a long time in order to be truly viable which means the writing and the actors have to be especially good as well as there has to be capable replacements. I don't know about other stand alone Ironman movies but there has to be someone who can take Downey Jr.'s place which is going to be difficult since he is Tony Stary.

    Both Haweye and Black Window should get more play also and it would be great to see them do cross overs with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D since they are both Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D agents along with Captain America and Nick Fury. Finally I think Thanos is a great Uber-Villian, buthe should not be the only one and there are plenty to chose from in the Marvel Universe of villians and these are obviously of different kinds and styles since you have to introduce Dormammu if you bring in Dr. Stange which opens of other dimensions beside just outer space. And even though a stand alone story about Loki would be good a series about Asgard would be even better. Most of the Asgardian support cast are heroes in their own right and have always gotten short shrift in my opionion in the comics though they continue to have staying power. Especially Odin and Sif.

    Thor's love is not Jane Foster though she was at first in the comic books his true and real love accoding to the Marvel Univers is the Lady Sif and Odin is Thor's father but in the comics he is always in the Odin-sleep or gone off "we known not where". I thought it very premature to have killed Freya in the second Thor movie and no Loki is not dead you didn't see the preview after the credits...but then thereis the Warriors three, Hemdall and Balder and even Tyr who was my favorite over forty years ago when he was first introduced and then promptly forgotten. The Asgardian side of things obviously need to be fleashed out as Thor 2 and the one episode of Agents of SHIELD point out. See all of this can be worked out to everyone's mutal benefit if people don't panic, get rushed or flustered.

    I widh Downey Jr. could play Stark/Ironman for the forseeable future but I also understand he is an actor and actually one of the best wehave right now the thing is the story platforms in the Marvel Universe are solid enough to build real story off of incidental to the fantasy concerning super-powered heros and beings and outer space and other dimensions. The fact that there are finally quality movies dealing with these issues and themes demostrates this fact especailly after the "joke" period which lead up to the first Spiderman the first film to take 100million at the box office ever. Just a few thoughts on my most favorite genra

  • Report this Comment On March 03, 2014, at 7:27 PM, mbhosler wrote:

    So they alluded to the fact that Ultron will be a twisted version of JARVIS. However, it seems to me that if Paul Bettany is playing Vision, then perhaps JARVIS somehow becomes Vision, as Bettany is in fact the voice actor for JARVIS. Could it be that somehow Ultron will hack into JARVIS, turning him into Vision in the process, and use him against Iron Man/the Avengers before Vision somehow escapes Ultron's power? Interesting that they have the Scarlet Witch in this movie with Vision, and in earlier versions of the Visions story arc, those two get married.

  • Report this Comment On March 03, 2014, at 10:50 PM, ToddPolt wrote:

    Leo Sun - Daredevil is getting his own TV show in 2015.

    Ghost Rider supposedly reverted back to Marvel, but last I checked the rights were still in the courts with a creator fighting for their control back.

    Punisher and Blade are back at Marvel, but so far Marvel hasn't used them. To be fair, I'm sure they believe that the inevitable Blade reboot will draw eyeballs simply because most people are aware of him because of the Wesley Snipes movies.

    Want my hunch? If the Netflix shows are a hit, Punisher will get his own show next. I mean several NYC-set supers and no Frank Castle? That won't last long.

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Tim Beyers

Tim Beyers first began writing for the Fool in 2003. Today, he's an analyst for Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova. At, he covers disruptive ideas in technology and entertainment, though you'll most often find him writing and talking about the business of comics. Find him online at or send email to For more insights, follow Tim on Google+ and Twitter.

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