If you don’t want any of the surprises in store for you in this Friday’s Incredible Hulk spoiled, than you better click away.
Better yet, turn off your computer, go outside and enjoy the fresh air in the great outdoors for the rest of the week. Then, after you see the movie on Friday, and you know you are, turn your computer back on.
These past several months, we have been reporting on Marvel Studios’ plans of using their individual superhero films – This summer’s Iron Man and Incredible Hulk, 2010’s Iron Man sequel and Thor and 2011’s Captain America – to lead into an Avengers feature showcasing all of those characters, in an adaptation of Marvel’s popular superhero team book. A number of small seeds have already been dropped in last month’s Iron Man, including the establishishment of the government organization known as SHIELD and an appearance in a short after-the-end credits scene by its head Nick Fury, played by an unbilled Samuel L. Jackson.
Comic fans at April’s New York Comic Con also got a sneak peek at one or two more things that will appear in the upcoming Incredible Hulk, that lay the groundwork to interconnecting all the films, including a cameo by Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark, Iron Man’s alter ego. While most figured that the cameo would probably show up as an end credits tag like the Nick Fury one in Iron Man, Marvel seems to be pushing it right out front by making it a key feature in its newest television commercial for the film.
I guess I can see Marvel’s point here. Ang Lee’s Hulk has a fairly bad reputation among the general public. Getting the average moviegoer to plunk down cash at the box office for what could appear with a casual glance to be a sequel to that movie is going to be a tough proposition. However, lots of people did pay to see Iron Man earlier this summer, so it is in Marvel’s best short and long term interests to start hammering home the connections as early as possible.
This brings to mind a conversation I had with my wife on our way to see Iron Man on its opening night. I was explaining to her Marvel’s plans for building towards an Avengers film through the planting of Easter Eggs like the mentions of SHIELD and the Nick Fury cameo in Iron Man. She questioned while it would certainly be exciting for comics fans to see these things, she wondered if they would be distracting or even alienating to non-comic readers. It looks to me as if Marvel is counting on people making the connections and start wondering how it all will fit together.
I have to wonder, though. If Marvel is willing to publicize the Tony Stark cameo, what do they have still up their sleeve to surprise us with?