So there’s this rumor that started circulating today that Marvel’s third Avengers film, which isn’t officially scheduled yet but will show up in May 2018, is actually going to be split into two films. The theory goes like this – the big show down between the superheroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the intergalactic tyrant Thanos will be so big that the studio now has no choice but to spread the story out across a pair of films and not just be contained to The Avengers 3 as previously planned.
The news comes from a site called The Daily Marvelite, who state –
According to our source, Marvel studios is considering the option (as of last year but have now made a decision) of having Earth’s mightiest heroes begin the battle in Avengers 3, coming out May 2018, only to be concluded in an untitled May 3rd 2019 movie.
What our source has not clarified is if Avengers 3 in itself will be a two part movie, or if it is the story that will be split into two, with the first part being Avengers 3 with a conclusion leading to a massive event movie where earth’s mightiest heroes will join the guardians of the galaxy to take down Thanos.
That’s a lovely bit of speculation and given that we’ve seen other big franchise finales like Harry Potter, Twilight and The Hunger Games spread their final story across two films it certainly sounds like it could fall into the realm of probability. Things is, given t he way how Hollywood works, it doesn’t fall into the realm of possibility.
First off, let’s put out the fact that Daily Marvelite is a relatively new site with no track record when it comes to insider info like this. They may be trying to make a big splash and drive traffic to their site with this, but if they keep going with a lot of unsubstantiated rumor they are going to find themselves alienating readers fairly quickly.
But the big thing that is keeping me from believing that this is going to happen is that contractually, I don’t see it happening.
Indulge me in a moment of backstory. Back before Ilya Salkind produced the first Superman movie, he oversaw a mammoth adaptation of The Three Musketeers with an all-star cast of Michael York, Oliver Reed, Charlton Heston, Raquel Welch and Faye Dunaway. It quickly became obvious that the completed film would be something on the order of four hours long, too long to run enough shows per day for the film to make its money back. So Salkind hit upon a novel solution, chop the movie in half and release the second part a year later. The thing is, none of the cast were particularly happy with suddenly finding themselves having done two movies’ worth of work but only getting paid for one. Lawsuits unsurprisingly followed and Salkind found himself having to pay his actors accordingly.
Soon after, the Screen Actors Guild inserted some new language into their contracts that became known as the Salkind Clause which stipulated that actors had to be aware of how many films they were making at the time of production and if something additional was going to be done with the footage, they had to be compensated appropriately. Last year when Peter Jackson and New Line decided to change the format of their Hobbit adaptation from two films to three, they were required to renegotiate the deals with all of the cast before they could do so. Presumably Quentin Tarantino needed to do so as well when his kung-fu exploitation epic Kill Bill went from one film to two.
And the Salkind Clause is what comes into play here. Both Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans’ contracts with Marvel come to an end with The Avengers 3. If they are to appear in both Avengers 3 and this mooted second film, the studio would be obligated to renegotiate both their deals. They could not just say that they are filming one big film and then chop it in half later. Marvel has already gone through one contract renegotiation with Downey and are probably not all that anxious to do so again. If they were to renegotiate with Evans it is a possibility that he might want some parity with Downey, who took home a $50 million pay check for the first Avengers film.
Marvel has been pretty clear about how well planned out in advance their film plans are and in light of that I really don’t see it as a possibility that they would suddenly realize that the moment they have been building towards for a decade is suddenly too big for one film. The idea of a film following the Avengers 3 showing that team meeting up with the Guardians of the Galaxy to form a super superteam certainly sounds appealing, but I just don’t see it happening without the studio moving some mountains I don’t think it is willing to move.