One question that fans have been asking about the upcoming convergence of Marvel Studios superhero franchises into The Avengers is exactly against who will Iron Man, Thor and Captain America (and maybe some others) be squaring off? Conventional wisdom has gone with the thought that the summer 2012 film would have a storyline similar to the 1963 first issue of the long-running comic series and feature Loki (to be played by Tom Middleton in next summer’s Thor film) tricking the Hulk (the CGI alterego of Edward Norton), leading to the other heroes to band together to stop him.
But it might be that Marvel is planning a twist on that story for the big screen with the addition of the shape-shifting aliens known as the Skrulls.
Comic Book Movies is claiming that two anonymous sources have told them that is the case, stating –
[T]he Skrulls will ‘brainwash’ and use the Hulk in a similar fashion Loki did in the comics. Don’t expect a full on alien invasion, though; that will have to wait for a sequel. The Skrulls’ role will be largely clandestine, similar to the way S.H.I.E.L.D. operates.
The site goes on to state that the Skrulls won’t be the only alien race making an appearance in the film, but that their ancestral enemies, the alien warrior race known as the Kree. This would fit nicely with a rumor floating around that 90210 actor Kevin Pennington has been secretly cast as in The Avengers as the Kree warrior Noh-Var, who has functioned as the superhero Marvel Boy in the comics universe.
If true, the one thing about this news that surprises me is, is that the Skrulls weren’t part of the rights package for the Marvel Comics superhero team The Fantastic Four purchased by Twentieth Century Fox. Although the Skrulls have shown up in virtually every corner of the Marvel Universe, including being the main baddies in the recent Secret Invasion company-wide event, they had their first appearance in an early issue of the that team’s book much like the second Fantastic Four film menace Galactus first appeared in their comic first before going on to appear in other many major books and storylines.
The acid test for this rumor right now is whether this meets studio honcho Kevin Feige’s philosophy that each movie should only ask its audience to make one major suspension of disbelief. In the first Iron Man, Feige stated that the audience was asked to believe that a guy could build an armored weapons suit from some very crude components. For Incredible Hulk is was that a man could be mutated in to a monster and then change back to human form again by radiation.
So is The Avengers film’s big suspension of disbelief alien shape-shifters? In the comics, the long standing conflict between the Skrulls and the Kree has been the backdrop for many Avengers stories and certainly kicks the Marvel Cinematic Universe on to a much broader canvas for the wave films being considered to follow The Avengers. We’ll eventually find out on May 4, 2012, but in the meantime take this story with the appropriately sized pinch of salt.