If one thing is certain about comic book movies today, it’s that they’ve gotten darker and grittier even if they seem to be light and poppy on the surface. While 2012’s The Avengers is a far cry from the gritty realism of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight or any of the films in that trilogy, there is no questions that comic book movies today aren’t afraid to go against the grain when it comes to how they treat superheroes.
You don’t go anymore against the grain than to kill a major superhero and according to Entertainment Weekly, that’s exactly what Joss Whedon might do in the upcoming film Avengers 2.
Now obviously Whedon isn’t going to come out and say he’s offing a major superhero before it happens, especially after his rant about how terrible the ending to Empire Strikes Back was. But Whedon also didn’t slam the door shut on the idea of throwing fans a curveball by killing an established superhero.
“I’d have to have a really good reason, a really great sequence for [Marvel execs] to go, ‘We’ll cut off a potential franchise, that’s fine!’ They know as any good studio does, that without some stakes, some real danger, how involved can we get?” Whedon said, via Entertainment Weekly. “We don’t just rule it out across the board, but neither is the mission statement ‘Who can we kill?’ We try to build the story organically and go, ‘How hard can we make it on these people?’ You go to the movies to see people you love suffer – that’s why you go to the movies.”
ScreenCrush.com speculates that if a character is going to be killed, the odds are it’s likely to be Hawkeye who is portrayed by Jeremy Renner. The actor has apparently voiced displeasure with his role in the Marvel universe and his character is one of a few that don’t have a spin-off franchise and he has yet to appear in a spin-off film in any capacity.
Another name that has been tossed out there is Robert Downey Jr., who has already made more superhero movies than any of the Avengers characters (not counting Chris Evans role in the separate Fantastic Four series) and he could be looking to get out of the business. With three Iron Man films under his belt and two Avengers movies once Age of Ultron is released, RDJ might sacrifice himself for real in Avengers 2 like he almost did in the first film.
There also hasn’t been a character in the entire franchise of films so far that has cheated death more than Tony Stark, so Whedon might finally call his number and forever darken a Marvel world considered lighter than that of DC and Warner Bros.
Then again, while Whedon didn’t slam the door shut on killing a major superhero, he also said he’d need really good justification for killing a Marvel cash cow. We won’t know what he’ll do until 2015 but the two year wait will now be filled with plenty of superhero death speculation.