Right now, we're halfway through with Marvel's Phase Two slate of movies, as Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World posted big box office numbers last year, and two more adventures are debuting this year, including Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April 4) and Guardians of the Galaxy (August 1). Avengers: Age of Ultron will close out the Phase in 2015. We still don't have an incredibly clear picture of what Phase Three will consist of, except that Marvel's Kevin Feige confirmed last January that Ant-Man and Doctor Strange will be included. And Robert Downey Jr. is set for The Avengers 3...But what then?
Here's what the unidentified studio source had to say, hinting that the only way the current Avengers team will stay intact is if Robert Downey Jr. strikes a new deal to come back.
"It's so incredibly early in the process, but unless Robert (Downey Jr.) makes an insane deal with these guys, they're going with New Avengers."
We reported last May that Robert Downey Jr. signed a new deal to return as Tony Stark/Iron Man in Avengers: Age of Ultron and The Avengers 3, which was confirmed by the studio in June. However, it was only a two-picture deal, so if the actor were to return for The Avengers 4, a new deal will have to be reached.
Robert Downey Jr. himself revealed in April that he wants to "retire" his Iron Man character and, unless he goes back to the bargaining table with Marvel, that may very well happen with The Avengers 3. The actor will be 53 years old when that sequel hits theaters in 2019.
Unleash The Fanboy's source claims it's unlikely that this new Avengers lineup will be taken from the Avengers: Disassembled comic book arc, where Spider-Man and Wolverine have joined the ensemble. Sony and 20th Century Fox own the rights to these two characters, but Marvel could still use the storyline, where Earth's Mightiest Heroes are left in a Diaspora, before they can form the 'New Avengers'. In the comic books, Diasporas were undisclosed hideouts, originally used by the X-Men after their battles with the Avengers. In this comic book arc, the heroes used one of these mysterious hideouts to regroup.
When asked which characters may be included in this potential new lineup, the unidentified Disney source mentioned Avengers: Age of Ultron's Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Quicksilver) and Ant-Man stars Paul Rudd (Scott Lang) and Michael Douglas (Hank Pym).
"Well, you've heard the recent casting announcements. They've got a ton of great guys. Paul Rudd. Michael Douglas. Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Whoever they choose for Doctor Strange and the other new guys in Phase 3. They've got a lot of great guys to lead the new phase of the team. But that's all I say. It's really early."
Of course, none of this has been confirmed by Marvel Studios, so tread on this information lightly. With the Avengers: Age of Ultron cast now more in demand than ever before, it may make sense to let a new group of superheroes shine. It could be cheaper for the penny-pinching studio in the long run.