It's still three years away, but that isn't stopping Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige from dropping hints about who and what to expect from the big superhero mash-up movie The Avengers when it eventually comes out.
Talking to Comic Book Resources, Feige admitted that Samuel L. Jackson's nine movie deal with Marvel is indeed a clue as to how the Avengers are going to get toegther:
At the end of the first [Iron Man], for the people who were patient enough to wait through the end credits, they met this guy named Nick Fury. They or Tony had no idea who he was. In this movie, he opens that door a little bit more for Tony and invites him to walk through it. Tony may or may not do that in this movie. But Nick Fury is the conduit through which all the characters will connect.
When asked whether the Hulk would feature in the Avengers movie, Feige replied,
I think so. In the comics, he has.
Another character we can expect to see in Avengers is Scarlett Johannsen's Black Widow; Feige was asked whether fans could expect to see her in that movie or her own spin-off, and he said,
She's signed on for all of those should we be lucky enough to have an audience that wants to see them.
So now we know at least six characters who'll be appearing in the movie: Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Nick Fury and Black Widow. Given that Iron Man 2 is also introducing well-known Avengers character Hawkeye, it's a fair bet to assume he'll be a seventh... and we have a line-up that should be very familiar not only to fans of Marvel's early Avengers comics, but also Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch's Ultimates rebooted version. With Avengers screenwriter Zak Penn having previously said that Ultimates was a big influence on how he approaches this material, is it too early to assume that the first Avengers movie will be an adaptation of that particular series?
Kevin Feige on Marvel Studios Slate [Comic Book Resources]