Marvel Plots Spy Spin-Offs
If Marvel topper Kevin Feige is to be believed, it seems as if his company (apparently not content to remain safely in the superhero stratus they've so successfully dominated to date) is intent on giving EON Productions a run for its money as a producer of spy films. Feige told The Playlist (via Dark Horizons) that Marvel is exploring spin-off films featuring Avengers characters (and agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) Black Widow and Hawkeye, as well as a film focusing on S.H.I.E.L.D. itself and presumably its director Nick Fury (played in the films by Samuel L. Jackson).
“There’s no definitive plans," he hedged, "but we have started talking and talking with Scarlett [Johansson, who debuted as Black Widow in Iron Man 2 and will reprise in The Avengers] about what a Widow movie could be. Internally, we’ve also started thinking what a Hawkeye movie could be, how we could continue to explore the organization S.H.I.E.L.D, which has a pretty big part in Thor, smaller parts in the two Iron Man films and has a giant part in The Avengers. What would a stand-alone S.H.I.E.L.D. [movie] be like? It all goes back to the comics. Sometimes the answer is—when looking at a certain run of issues— ‘no way’ and sometimes the answer is ‘maybe, let’s continue to explore it’ and certainly with Hawkeye and Black Widow those are two that we’re exploring.”
The interesting thing about those people and organizations he mentions is that they could very easily be combined into one movie rather than three separate productions. Comics fans will no doubt be aware that not only have Black Widow and Hawkeye both done tours of duty with the high-tech spy organization S.H.I.E.L.D., but also shared a romantic history together. So you could easily do a movie about S.H.I.E.L.D. focusing on those characters. I do find it interesting that (going back to the first rumblings about this potential movie that we heard a few years ago) Feige is always careful to discuss a "S.H.I.E.L.D." movie and not a Nick Fury movie, which would seem more apt since the comic book title is Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. I'd hazard that his deliberate wording reflects the apparently unforeseen drawbacks in casting a sixty-something year-old actor to play that part. Unlike the Fury of the comics, Sam Jackson doesn't have access to an age-defying Infinity Formula, and thus seems an unlikely choice to topline an action film these days. So unless they were to recast the role (which regular readers are probably aware I wouldn't be opposed to), I'd say it looks like the one-eyed S.H.I.E.L.D. ramrod will have to take a backseat to younger agents in his own movie. Too bad.