Zak Penn, who has written the screenplay for the reboot/relaunch of The Incredible Hulk has been signed to write the adaptation of The Avengers.
While the roster for the Avengers has changed since its inception in 1963, growing to include the likes of Spider-Man and X-Men hero Wolverine, the classic iteration of the team consisted of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the diminutive Ant-Man and Wasp. Other members have been the Hulk, the bow-and-arrow-wielding Hawkeye and the probability-altering gypsy Scarlet Witch.
Many of these heroes are getting their own starring portrayals in other movies, with Robert Downey Jr. as “Iron Man” already shooting; “Hulk” scheduled for a summer start, with Ed Norton toplining; a “Thor” script being written by Mark Protosevich; and “Ant-Man” being developed by Edgar Wright (“Hot Fuzz”). Marvel wants to wait until all those films have entered the market before unleashing “The Avengers.”
The fans have already shown a large ensemble hero movie can work – it’s called X-Men. The problem facing Marvel now is getting all the other movies to the theatres, having them do well, and then getting the stars (Robert Downey Jr., Ed Norton, and so on) to sign to share the screen time for a multi-movie deal. With each of the stand alone movies coming out roughly one or two per year, it could easily be 2012 before the first Avengers movie hits, making many of these stars a bit long in the tooth to continue sequels well past 2020. If you think 2020 is out of the question, look how long it took to get the third Spider-Man film to theaters; Spider-Man (2002), Spider-Man 2 (2004), Spider-Man 3 (2007) – that’s five years after the premiere of the first. Iron Man isn’t set to debut until May 2, 2008, if the other films (Thor, Hulk, Ant Man, Captain America) come out one each year, that is five years right there. Tack on another five for any sequels, then add two for Avengers negotiations and you are right up against the 2020 date.