Welcome to Issue #21 of The Marvelous Da7e!
Real quick mission statement: this column is for discussion of superhero movie news and superhero movies. Titular allegiance aside, this sphere includes non-Marvel properties.
This week: I tried to hold back until the movie came out SOMEWHERE if not in America. But I can’t contain myself any longer. Let’s talk about what Thor 2‘s mid-credits scene says about all Marvel Cinematic Universe entries to date.
I guess it’s all out there now, since Thor: The Dark World has opened elsewhere in the world and I, your humble comics-obsessed servant has purchased his totally legal opening-night Thor tickets, where I get to go watch a plot that sounds pretty similar to Nickelodeon’s current Legend of Korra plot, but with characters I love and the MacGuffans I love the most. Those are the Infinity Gems, and I love them the most because it’s shown itself to be the pinnacle of the Avengers Trilogy and Marvel’s first three Phases.
If you don’t want to know anything about Thor: The Dark World, bookmark this page, see the movie, then come back.
That was your warning.
OK, so halfway through the Thor credits, Benicio Del Toro as The Collector shows up to take The Aether from Sif and Volstagg who have brought it to him because the Tesseract is in Odin’s Vault and it’s unwise to keep two of the Infinity Gems together. The Collector takes the Aether and cryptically says: “one down, five to go.”
This is a reference to the six Infinity Gems, which I guess we’re calling Infinity Stones in the MCU. The six Gems – space, time, mind, power, soul and reality – give the holder the power to…well, maybe and example is better here.
In The Avengers, the movie begins with Loki stealing the Tesseract, which glows blue like his scepter, leading many fanboys like myself to believe that the blue Mind Gem allowed Loki to posses Hawkeye. So the Mind Gem would give you power over Mind. Granted, we haven’t had each MacGuffin object linked to the specific Gem from the comics, so the Tesseract might not be a Mind Gem, blue might just be the color Joss Whedon liked for Avengers. All we really seem to know at the moment is that two of our six Gems have made an appearance.
This is both incredibly cool and supremely frustrating.
If you didn’t read The Infinity Gauntlet series when everyone was blogging about it after The Avengers, just know that it’s a huge team-up with universe shaking consequences. These Gems, all assembled, makes the wearer a god that’s capable of facing down the cosmic deities that existed in Marvel Comics.
Avengers 3 (Not With Skrulls)!
As you can imagine, all of us comics fans who are used to yearly crossover events are pretty good at drawing continuity together. I’ve hypothesized before that head-cannon creation and the impulse to connect stories into a unified world is a symptom of really caring about your sect of fandom. Not only does all Marvel movies leading to Avengers 3 sound like a great story, but it’s a massive undertaking that can only be a beautiful whole or a pile of fiasco. There’s not going to be much in-between. Even a bad movie here or there will end up being one in over a dozen pieces of a fully-formed epic.
The best thing about this big plan being unveiled is that it hints that any time between here and Avengers 3, you can engage with the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it’s fandom, even outside the movies.
Take the One Shots:
We got confirmation that Ben Kingsley is doing a Marvel One Shot, which is great news for lovers of Marvel One Shots. These are the shorts that appear on DVD releases and starred Agent Coulson before ‘Item 47’ and ‘Agent Carter’ expanded the One Shot concepts outward. When I first heard this news, especially the part about the “real” Mandarin, I was skeptical because it would be kind of stupid fan-service to introduce a villain like The Mandarin on a One Shot like the Thor 2 DVD. But now that Marvel’s intention of making a fully-fleshed out Universe a possibility, and after they upped the serious nature of the One Shots from Coulson sidebars to fully cast shorts, who’s to say some subtle retconning won’t happen in these shorts?
Also take Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
Recently, Marvel announced that the November 19th episode of Agents of Acronym will tie into the ending of Thor: The Dark World. There’s this thing called “November Sweeps” where the networks pay attention to ratings so they know what shows they can sell advertising against. There’s another round of Sweeps in May, both when AoA’s first season will be coming to an end and a month after Captain America: The Winter Soldier comes out. If Joss Whedon had Thanos turn around and smile at the audience as a tease for Avengers 3 and the whole of the Marvel Universe, it’s time to stop pretending he didn’t think of a way to tie in his series to the greater arc.
The whole “Joss Whedon is advising on all the movies” means that all the movies could potentially be tied into the TV series. The TV series runs during the winter, while Marvel movies tend to come out during the Summer. There’s a whole, linked world that won’t go more than 2 weeks without adding another story to the grand tapestry (assuming S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn’t get cancelled). That’s an amazing amount of pre-thought, care and money. I doubt the show is going to be essential enough to have an Infinity Gem pop up on it, but – if I had to guess – S.H.I.E.L.D. will be our retconning team for when the occasional rough edge needs to be sanded over.
Besides being on constant Infinity Gems watch, start looking for movies made after The Avengers to do some cleanup on stuff that happened before The Avengers. This is most evident by us having seen the Infinity Gauntlet, assembled, in the first Thor. Now, at the end of Thor 2, it’s too dangerous to keep them all in Odin’s Vault. So what did we end up see in Thor? Much like Agents of Acronym’s existence began with a tease about ret-conning Coulson’s death in Avengers, I’d expect some One Shots, TV episodes and C plots to retroactively change some things we saw before Marvel snapped all the pieces into place. Above, I assume that Loki had the Mind Gem in Avengers because the power to posses a person and the general color. The possession could just be a Loki power and the color could have been a design decision for all I truly know about the process.
I’ve been trying to get people to associate the Aether with a color – keeping in mind I haven’t seen the movie yet – so I could hypothesize what Gems we’ve already locked down. I got two answers from my podcast co-hosts who have seen the film: Black (no help there) and Red (Power Gem, which seems wrong for a reason I’ll get into next). Needless to say, it behooves Marvel to be purposefully vague until they actually have to name all the Gems. And they may not need to name all the gems, which means they may not need to stick to the definitions of the powers from the comics, which means we’re all in the dark (WORLD!) anyway.
This sounds like a sissy complaint, and it probably is, but part of me is sad that we’ll talk about Ultron for three years and we’ll talk about the Infinity Gems for three years, then everything needs to get handed off to the next generation of Marvel Actors.
That means Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr will never face each other in a Civil War. It means no Secret Wars for anyone. It means really bad things for the possibility of Planet Hulk movie or a Hulk solo film anytime in the near future. It also means that they’re knitting all these properties together, which makes me root even harder for the mystery 60-episode TV project that hopefully has nothing to do with the Gems.
It’s a sissy complaint because it overlooks all the awesome we’re about to get dumped on us and I should be – and will be – happy with the greatness being attempted. There’s just a small deflation realizing a plan this big, like opening your last toy on Christmas and realizing you’re the furthest you’ll be this year from next Christmas.
Once again, I’ve run out of space. Maybe you can help me, reader.
Here are my best guesses as to the location of each of the Infinity Gems.
Green/Soul – This one has to be in Dr. Strange. It makes the most sense because the Soul Gem is sentient and wants to consume souls. Also, we haven’t talked too much in the MCU about the concept of a Soul, at least not until we find out what happened to Coulson. So – Phase 3 Ho!
Orange/Time – I’m throwing this one in Cap 3. If you’re going to have a character who is a man out of time in his third movie when he really shouldn’t be out of time anymore, why not let him screw with time? Just seems fitting and moreso than the other Avengers movies we know about.
Purple/Space – Star Lord has it, doesn’t know what it really is, becomes the focus of Guardians of the Galaxy.
Blue/Mind – Assuming it’s the Tesseract “Odin” has it. Look(i) for it to return around Thor 3.
Reality/Yellow – Call me crazy, but if there is a “REAL” Mandarin out there, this would be a great way to include the Iron Man franchise in the Gems storyline. Either way, the Reality Gem is super crazy powerful if wielded by anyone who knows what it is. I’m the least sure about this one, unless it pops up somewhere we aren’t expecting, like in Ant-Man, or on Wakanda.
Power/Red – Since we can’t do Mutants or Magneto, it seems like the SCARLET Witch needs her POWER from somewhere, right? : )