Yesterday at Hall H, Marvel Studios announced, to the surprise of everyone, that the much-anticipted second Avengers film will be called Avengers 2: Age of Ultron.
One assumes, of course, that it will be at least partially based on the recently-concluded miniseries of the same name, which introduced Angela to the Marvel Universe and sent Galactus in search of the Ultimate Universe.
That story--a time-travel epic in which Hank Pym (better known as Ant-Man, whose solo film will follow up Age of Ultron on the big screen) plays a major role--was discussed earlier yesterday at the Marvel Comics: Infinity panel. And what they had to say about the series is interesting in hindsight.
Fans know that the miniseries was on hold for quite some time; artist Bryan Hitch ended up doing other things while the book was in a holding pattern, either due to one of the creators having other constraints or editorial reasons, and once the series finally got off the ground, there were multiple pencillers working on the story, something that the company had also done with their much-ballyhooed Avengers vs. X-Men series.
When a fan asked about the practice at the Infinity panel, though, Marvel's Axel Alonso gave what could be a telling answer:
"Avengers vs. X-Men kind of changed the mold with this. Since the event was happening on an accelerated shipping schedule, a new chapter would come out every two weeks. We realized that we wouldn't be able to get one artist to do it. So our game plan was to take three of our best and have them each draw an act, you follow me?
"With Age of Ultron, we had some art completed and we saw a spot in the schedule where we could tell this story which was the perfect place to tell it--it allowed us to do tons of stuff that we knew was coming down the pipeline and open up opportunities."
He said that the next event they have in the planning stages after Infinity is expected to be done all by one artist, whom they're locking down now, but that there are a lot of factors that help determine these things.
It may seem like a bit of a stretch, but something about this answer bugged me at the time in the panel--that they would essentially make a creative decision based on a spot in the schedule, after having waited for years to do this book. Why not just wait a little longer? Then the movie announcement came. Avengers 2: Age of Ultron will almost certainly drive a LOT of interest in Age of Ultron hardcovers and paperbacks.
Even if the film is not a direct adaptation of Bendis's story (there are plenty of elements that probably wouldn't work on screen), a long-in-development idea by one of the Marvel movie mavens (Bendis serves on the advisory panel to Marvel Studios) being announced as a movie before the comics story ever came out could theoretically be something they hoped to avoid.
It's not just the movies, either; Alonso made it sound a bit like other comics had demanded some tweaks to Age of Ultron along the way, as well.
"I think Age of Ultron has inspired some controversy out there. What I've loved is the ripple effect across the Marvel Universe and the stuff that it's created for us--the fact that Brian was able to hold off the ending to give us things we needed. We're geting so many things out of it that you're going to be getting over the next couple of years, not the least of which is Angela, how we'll find she was hiding in plain sight in the Marvel Universe. Fascinating story that we'll be talking about for years to come."