SPOILERS WILL BE INCLUDED!!
Here comes Uncle Excelsior! Hoppin’ down the Marvel Trail!
Hippity Hop, Easter’s on its way!
That’s right, True Believers! It’s Easter weekend and what better time, I thought, than sift through the many Easter Eggs Marvel has left scattered throughout their awesome set of movies! Now, I’m not going to go through every one of them. Hecks, that would take a while and I would just bore you; seeing you have already read a myriad of things about this subject. NO, I’m going to pull out the choice eggs from my basket; the ones that I think will drive next phase!
First of all, let me reiterate that Marvel/Disney sticks the closest to the comic continuity than any of the big three superhero movie companies. And, after digging through all of these, I am thoroughly convinced that Marvel is going to continue this with few variances. I have laid out what I think they are doing and where they will be going in an earlier article.
THE VISION/HUMAN TORCH CONNECTION
(EASTER EGG FROM CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER)
Word is that there is a scene in The Avengers: Age Of Ultron that is being filmed in London right now that takes place in the 40s. It includes Chris Evans (Captain America) and Haley Atwell (Peggy Carter) in what may be a flashback scene. What is odd about this shoot is one other ‘third wheel’ actor that seems a bit out of place. I’m talking about Vision actor, Paul Bettany. What would he be doing there? There are only two options I can think of. Time Travel; the Time Gem is involved or the Vision is involved in the flashback. In other words, Steve Rogers met him in the past or the android is fashioned after someone that Steve Rogers/Captain America knew back in the 40s.. Is that possible? Does it have comic precedence? YOU BETCHA! And the oldest nerd alive is here to give ya the lowdown!!
According to Marvel Comics Cannon, the Vision was built using an older android. One created by one Dr. Phineas T Horton in the later 1930s. This android had a unique reaction to exposure to oxygen; he exploded into flame! Yes, this android was the ORIGINAL human torch! The good doctor kept the ‘TORCH’ in a glass case until the now (get this) sentient android could gain control of its powers! It did gain control of those powers and took on the human identity of Jim Hammonds and joined Captain America, Bucky and Namor as the super Ally group, THE INVADERS.
Now, and this is why I love the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they dropped a major Easter Egg in Captain America: The First Avenger concerning the original Human Torch. Check out the scene below showing a display in the World’s Fair sequence of the movie which seems to be a man in a glass container wearing the Torch’s trademark red garb! It was part of a science exhibit at the fair, with a big sign hanging above that says “Dr. Phineas Horton Presents The Synthetic Man.” Beginning to get it?
Now, back to the Vision. In the comics, Henry Pym aka Ant-Man made Ultron and the fifth incarnation, ULTRON V, made the Vision using parts from the disassembled original Torch. Although they are passing the blame to Tony Stark for creating Ultron, this could definitely be the plan for AGE OF ULTRON. To have Cap remember seeing the original android on display at the World’s Fair back in the 40s and finding the resemblance with this Vision which was created by a renegade sentient AI we call ULTRON!
Remember that scene from Iron Man 2 where Happy talks about the robot in the basement? Is this the deactivated Human Torch Android waiting to be tinkered with? Most everybody else assumed he was talking about the ‘dummy’ who Tony made fun of all the time.
No, the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that this option is where they’re going! It just makes sense and proves that the MCU is sticking the closest to continuity than any of the movie companies!
Another tidbit concerning A.I. (Artificial Intellegence) was the successful experiment of Arnim Zola to transfer himself into the old computer system as revealed by Cap and Widow in the old Shield base. Does Arnim’s success and his algorithm have anything to do with the creation of the Vision and/or Ultron? I guess it’s wait and see.
Another EASTER EGG that has popped up in more than one Marvel movie has been the fictional element/metal, Vibranium. The first mention of Vibranium was in Iron Man 2 where Tony Stark created a new element. It was unnamed in the movie, but, in the written adaptation, they called it Vibranium. Now, actually, Tony Stark rediscovered the element after decoding a hidden message containing the structure of the element left in the diorama of the 1974 Stark Expo by his father, Howard. It is possible that JARVIS was using its existing knowledge & analysis on Vibranium structure given by Tony’s father. Tony Stark synthesized Vibranium.
Strangely enough, Captain America: The First Avenger had a mention of it too. Howard Stark talked about it as if it was already a known element. Stark mentioned that Vibranium was stronger than steel and one third the weight. Unfortunately, Stark used all the Vibranium he had to make Cap’s shield that was able to withstand a hit by Thor’s mighty, mystical hammer!
It is also assumed that THE WINTER SOLDIER’S metal arm is made of Vibranium. That would explain why it does recoil off Cap’s shield in their many battles and Bucky was able to catch the shield with no problem or vibration. You see Vibranium is thus called because it absorbs vibrations and doesn’t reflect it back. This would make the lack of throw back when Cap fought Thor make sense. But where is all of this Vibranium coming from?
Now, also in Iron Man 2 was another tidbit linked to Vibranium. If you blink you’d have miss it, but there’s a map of Antarctica amongst Howard Stark’s possessions in the crate that SHIELD gives Tony. Well, back to comic book cannon. It’s also possible that Antarctica is the source of the Vibranium that is used in Captain America’s shield. According to official Marvel Comics Cannon, Vibranium was first discovered in Antarctica, but there’s somewhere else where the metal is found in abundance… Wakanda
According to the comics, the main source of Vibranium on Earth is Wakanda, home of T’challa, the Black Panther. Back to the end of Iron Man 2. As Tony is being debriefed by Nick Fury, we see a world map in the background. There are hot spots marked and the most focus seems to be in Africa. Could the ‘red incident icon’ be marking Wakanda?
In the animated Ultimate Avengers movies, the Chitarri use Vibranium in all of their personal armor and ships hulls. Apparently, they were low on a source because they attacked Wakanda to get at more. (Ultimate Avengers: the Movie and Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Panther) And in, Agents of Shield, they have a special interrogation room made of Vibranium (Episode: ‘The Well’) Also, in a comic book connection with the Star Spangled Avenger, the story FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS set in World War II tells the tale of how the Black Panther and Captain America along with Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos fight the Nazis to protect the Wakandan source of Vibranium. This is the first chronicled meeting of Cap and T’Challa who fight none other than Baron Von Strucker and the Red Skull!
So, Vibranium factors heavily in, not only, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but in Comic Cannon also. I would not doubt that the filming in Africa have a direct connection to Wakanda and their Vibranium mines. What would happen if an A.I. Renegade android got access to vast quanities of this powerful and strong mineral/metal? I think this is one of the moves AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON is making. Vibranium would make Ultron nearly unstoppable and if he makes an army of these Vibranium covered androids as Ultron is prone to doing, then the Avengers will have their hands full!
THE TEN RINGS!
The Ten Rings debuted in the original Iron Man. They were the terrorist organization that kidnapped Tony Stark and used him to create weapons. The TEN RINGS is also a direct reference to the greatest IRON MAN villain of all time, THE MANDARIN. But, did you know that the TEN RINGS were in Iron Man 2? You wouldn’t be alone if you didn’t. In fact, Jon Favreau who plays Happy confirmed this in an interview.
‘The guy who gives [Whiplash] the Monaco ticket is from Ten Rings,’ Favreau was reported as saying. This would mean that the Mandarin’s terrorist arm was working behind the scenes to help Whiplash get his revenge on Tony Stark, which means that they’re involved throughout the Iron Man sagaa
I know what your thinking.Isn’t the ten rings actually AIM?
I think I can safely say it was the actual TEN RINGS involved throughout most of the story. They’ve been real from the very beginning. Iron Man 3 was a huge ruse to set up the most powerful, most dangerous villain Tony Stark has ever faced. This is the next phase of IRON MAN. It’s what they have been hinting at from the very first movie. And whether they planned this or did this to appease the fans, I don’t care! This fan will take it gladly, True Believer!
If you pay close attention in Iron Man 2, you would see a crate that he retrieves things from while he is ‘creating this new element’. On the box was the name PROJECT PEGASUS. Now this may be just a nod to old school Marvel comics, but the MCU doesn’t waste much on trifling cameos. Usually, their chance encounters with comic book cannon are signs of things to come.
In the comics, PROJECT PEGASUS was a government facility for researching alternative energy sources. In the end, it became, strangely enough, a prison for super powered beings. In the AVENGERS, it was the subterranean facility where the Tesseract is being studied by Erik Selvig. It collapses during Loki’s escape with the infinity gem at the beginning of the movie. Also the files brought to Tony Stark later on are all related to the destruction of this project. Will we see it come back? Will it be involved in the incarceration of super criminals?
THE CONTINUED EXISTANCE OF THE SUPER SOLDIER SERUM
What gave Bucky the power to be THE WINTER SOLDIER? What was it that they gave Blonksy the ability to transform into the Abomination? The super-Soldier Serium!?
You’re no doubt aware that it was the mysteriously named “Super-Soldier Serum” that transformed the weak, skinny Steve Rogers into Captain America in The First Avenger. But were you aware that this same formula was the one given to Tim Roth’s bad guy Blonksy in The Incredible Hulk, so that he would be able to battle the Hulk?
Seriously: Blonsky is even told that the serum was developed “during WWII,” and is granted super speed, agility and strength by way of a small dosage. Of course, he eventually succumbs to the serum’s inherent flaws when it begins to decompose his skeleton and he transforms into the Abomination.
“The serum amplifies everything that is inside, so good becomes great; bad becomes worse. This is why you were chosen. Because the strong man who has known power all his life, may lose respect for that power, but a weak man knows the value of strength, and knows… compassion.”
―Abraham Erskine to Steve Rogers in CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER
This would explain why Blonsky became the Abomination and not a super-Soldier like Steve Rogers. This brings us to a little known corner of the Marvel Universe and Iron Man 3.
Ellen Brandt, who was played in Iron Man 3 by Stephanie Szostak and created those nifty exploding plants, was a character who was in part responsible for the creation of Man-Thing. Ted Sallis, who she was involved with romantically, was a scientist who worked for S.H.I.E.L.D attempting to recreate the very Super Soldier serum that made Rogers the Star Spangled Avenger. However, A.I. M. (YES! The same A.I.M. That was in Iron Man 3) infiltrated the project and compromised Brandt and influenced her to turn on Sallis; shooting him near fatally. Sallis attempted to save himself by using the experiment Serum on himself. The result? The Man-Thing!
The Man-Thing lived his life out in the swamps of Florida as the guardian of the NEXUS OF ALL REALITIES which was there in the swamps. Dr. Strange has been involved with this Nexus many times and it would play into the story nicely considering we’re dealing with gems of time, space, reality etc.
Kevin Feige did say that there will be hints of what’s to come in Iron Man 3 that might not be recognized at first, and Doc Strange is also mentioned by Shield Agent Sitwell as targets of Hydra along with Bruce Banner in CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER. So, The Super-Soldier serum, Brandt’s mutanagetic work with exploding plants/people, Dr. Strange and the Man-Thing could factor in especially if they looking to hook up Doc with the rest of the Marvel Universe in his own movie.
Erik Selvig’s chalkboard
As Selvig is holding class in the insane asylum during THOR: THE DARK WORLD, he stands in front of an innocent looking chalkboard with a lot of nonsense on it, right? Well, to the trained eye aka a Marvel True Believer, some of that nonsense makes perfect sense.
(1) 616 Universe
FIRST, right in the middle of the board is the word ‘616 Universe’. Any Marvel comics fan of any worth would know that this is Marvel’s own designation for its mainstream comics universe. This tells us that, unlike was previously thought, the MCU IS the mainstream comic universe. This explains their relative strictness of continuity.
(2) THE FAULT.
This actually has connections with a comic’s cannon Thanos story. It first appeared in the WAR OF KINGS story-line and involved (grab onto something) the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Nova Corps which just so happens to be hitting the big screen this August! It could also be teasing an INHUMANS movie which has been hinted greatly about and much anticipated. To be sure, Marvel has concentrated much of its comic energies to following the Inhumans and pushing them in many story-lines lately.
(The Fault is a tear in the universe that leads to a number of alternate realities. The tear was caused by a Terrigen bomb and was created by Black Bolt, leader of The Inhumans. The story ultimately led to the cosmic crossover The Thanos Imperative, which seems significant considering the involvement of Thanos in both the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy corners of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.)
(3) The Crossroads.
The Crossroads has been explained as a nexus point between infinite alien dimensions. Back in Hulk #300, Doctor Strange (He keeps showing up doesn’t he?) banished the Hulk to the Crossroads when he became consumed by the rampaging beast. Strange was also involved in banishing the Hulk off planet in later stories. This story-line called WORLD WAR HULK was once rumored to be the basis for AVENGERS 3.
This leaves us with a lot to chew on. Will the Fault and the Crossroads become major backdrops for the overall story? With the THANOS IMPERATIVE drive the scripts from here on?
When the worlds converged late in Thor: The Dark World, one of the portals led to Muspelheim, the realm of fire and we get a glimpse of Surtur. Now this Fire Demon is the very entity who tries to bring about Ragonarok, the end of Asgard! According to the comics, Surtur rivals Odin. Thor can’t defeat him by himself. With Loki masquerading as Odin, will this demon possibly take the opportunity to attack Asgard?
I say, YES!
The rumors around Thor and the MCU have already started to use the word ROGANAROK in hushed whispers. The fact that the SURTUR SAGA, written and drawn by the excellent Walt Simonson, was one of the most powerful series of Thor EVER should push this idea to the forefront. The end of Asgard. Thor with nowhere left to go but Earth. I could even see Thor have to battle the Midgard Serpent to save Earth. It would be powerfully dramatic to make him have to chose between Asgard and Midgard (Earth).
(Tidbit: Maliketh, the Dark Elfs and KURSE were also story features during Simonson’s run.)
THE WINTER SOLDIER
Finally, the revelations of CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER have left us with a shattered Bucky Barnes with super speed, strength and reflexes (wonder where that came from?) and out from under the control of HYDRA. So what now?
He becomes Captain America. It is as simple as that. Something tragic happens in the war with Thanos. Steve Rogers is a casualty. Bucky Barnes is primed to take his place. He will be the ICON to lead the next phase of Avengers! This will be where Marvel/Disney will be tested. If Robert Downey, Jr. leaves the suit behind and is followed by Chris Hemsworth. (Chris Evans is a lock to leave the shield after Avengers 3), then we will be looking a whole new landscape for the AVENGERS. We will be moving into the next phase of the team and whole new team. A team occupied by a strange, uncertain lot. Hawkeye, Black Widow, the Iron Patriot, the Falcon, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch and the Vision. Not to mention, Ms. Marvel who has been rumored for about a year or so now.
No, the more of the Marvel movies I watch, the more i’m convinced I’m right about where they’re going. And, if you don’t understand this, read the first 50 or so AVENGERS comics from back in the 60s and 70s and/or read my article
( http://moviepilot.com/posts/2014/02/19/the-next-phase-for-the-avengers-continuity-at-last-1243272?lt_source=external,manual )
So, till next week, have a Happy Easter and enjoy the eggs!