This has been a big week for Marvel announcements, first, the team took to ‘The View’ to announce that a new Asgardian will be taking the mantle of ‘Thor: God of Thunder’, and this time it will be a woman. They then revealed that Falcon will now don the stars and stripes now that Steve Rogers has aged to an appropriate 90 year old man. Many pundits and experts in the field of comics have been debating these recent changes and upheavals in the Marvel Universe this week, theories range from Marvel attempting to balance gender and race issues within the MU, to simple publicity-stunt type event to boost sales. I have a theory that goes a little deeper, and much wider into the Marvel Universe. I think these changes were made to solve the very real-world issues of the Marvel Movie Universe, and the actors who play the characters we know and love.
The idea of different actors playing the same character is not unheard of, Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and The Hulk have all had many different actors, and different takes on the storylines. However Marvel has worked incredibly hard to create their shared-universe concept, and simply replacing characters seems like a massive leap to take, considering the millions of dollars this films need for production and promotion.
Captain America, Thor, Iron Man and the entire squad of Marvel characters have been around since the golden age of comics, however Marvel’s cinematic shared universe has only truly been around since ‘Iron Man’ and ‘The Incredible Hulk’ in 2008. With the exception of Mark Ruffalo replacing Ed Norton, the actors have been playing these same characters going on almost 8 years now, and there looks to be no slowing down of Marvel’s slate of films, but that does not necessarily mean that these actors will be willing, or able, to play the part.
Chris Evans has wasted little time in announcing that after his contract is over with Marvel that he will be done playing Captain America, indeed he has hinted that he will be quitting acting altogether. This leaves a massive hole at the center of their cinematic universe, do they simply replace Chris Evans and move on? I think Marvel has come up with a different tactic; change the storyline of the character in the comics, and the movie can easily follow through…thus Anthony Mackie, who played Sam Wilson/The Falcon in ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ can easily slip into Chris Evans’ tights and claim the mantle of Captain America.
The same can be said of Chris Hemsworth’s Thor character, while Hemsworth has not hinted at any type of departure from Marvel, his initial contract is due to expire eventually, and the grind of working on huge action films and keeping his body in godly-like shape will eventually wear on him…so why not replace Thor himself with another character completely? Additionally there is the added expense of keeping big name actors in long term contracts, Marvel has been notoriously ‘cheap’ when it comes to paying their actors, but stars like Hemsworth and Robert Downey Jr. have become essential pieces to the Marvel shared universe concept, and can easily demand hefty salary increases if they are asked to stay on…something Marvel may be reluctant to do.
Given this thought process, and the recent news that a new ‘Superior Iron Man’ has been announced, with a new suit, new city and new attitude…could it be possible that a new character will be stepping inside the suit? Leaving the door open for Robert Downey Jr. to leave (or be pushed?)
Thoughts? Comment below!