Iron Man 2 just wrapped filming, and thoughts of cast members are already turning to the upcoming production of The Avengers, which awaits the completion of Thor and Captain America.
Scarlett Johansson, who joins the Iron Man world as Black Widow in the sequel, already has the itch to reprise the role in a team-up. "I hope so," Johansson said in a group interview Saturday at Comic-Con in San Diego. "I think it all depends on how the fans react to the character. I hope people like the character, of course, and I love the character. I hope that she does turn up, if not in her own film, in the future series."
Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr., however, hasn't quite let the impending Avengers film sink in yet. "Not entirely," Downey said in a separate interview. "I'm not as savvy about that stuff. I just know that right now we got a really good thing going on, and it's most important to not sully that, so I will listen to the professionals, and I'll just keep selling soap until otherwise notified."
Marvel Studios production chairman Kevin Feige assured that none of the earlier films would suffer just to set up The Avengers. "We're not going to lock ourselves into something because it pays off three movies, but it's not great for this one, but you kind of have to do it for three movies," Feige said in another interview. "No, if it doesn't work for the movie we're making, we shuffle it. I call the [individual writers and filmmakers] and go, 'Remember that thing I told you about? We're not doing it.'"
Iron Man 2 director Jon Favreau enjoyed doing his part to set up The Avengers. He even thinks The Avengers might make a better trilogy capper than a pure Iron Man 3. "The Avengers might be the thing that helps rescue us from the inevitable sequel slump that you get into because you're throwing everything on its ear," Favreau said in another interview. "It might be a failed experiment or it might be something wonderful, but it allows you to add complexity in an organic way where you're culminating with something bigger, as opposed to trying to play out and not repeat the same story over and over again."
Feige added that The Avengers would probably introduce more supporting Avengers who did not get their own films and that Black Widow could indeed be part of the team. Even The Hulk could help smash things, though whether it would be Edward Norton's Hulk or not remains to be discussed.
The Avengers is scheduled for release in 2012.