Now that the internet has allowed fans to keep track of every aspect of a film's production, studios, filmmakers and even talent are consistently trying to stay ahead of the game -- to predict what the fans will want most, when they'll want it and how much of it they'll be able to take in without crying foul. In an effort to change things up a little, Marvel decided a few years back that they were going to create a series of superhero films that would all tie into one another somehow, eventually leading up to a group film based on the popular Avengers comic property. In order to do this, though, they needed to sign several actors and actresses to multiple films -- that way they could mix and match by bringing, say, Thor into Iron Man and then Captain America into Thor, and so on.
At first it was a genius move. The fans just fell in love with the fact that Marvel was even attempting something this ambitious, even though the continuity thus far had been restricted to a couple of post-credits scenes and an Easter Egg or two. Hardly anything to write home about. But now that we're approaching the real meat and potatoes of their so-called continuity plan (with films like Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger all set to converge on one another), a few unfortunate facts are beginning to come to light.
In an interview with Jon Favreau for The LA Times, the Iron Man 2 director admits that he couldn't include any kind of cliffhanger at the end of the Iron Man sequel because he had no idea where Marvel would be taking the character over the course of the next three films (meaning Thor, Captain America and The Avengers). He even admitted to having 8 different storylines (!) going so that a larger story could eventually be told.
So even if Favreau originally had plans for this epic Iron Man franchise, those ideas had to be scrapped because he has no clue what sort of Iron Man he's getting back for part three. Movieline already suggested that this could eventually "kill" Iron Man all together. And the same issue is going to come up for Thor and Captain America, too, whereas they can't enjoy their own trilogy arcs because they're being stuffed into "the larger picture", leaving each hero to have these one-off adventures which will probably only serve that one Avengers film in 2012 and not their own specific franchises.
I guess the question is: does that bother you? Would you rather trade the chance to enjoy Iron Man (or Thor, or Captain America) as a solid trilogy where each film plays directly into the next (kind of like what Christopher Nolan is doing with his Batman films) in order to watch Marvel (hopefully) do something cool with a multi-franchise arc instead?
Do you have faith in Marvel's big ideas? With all this talk of script re-writes, do these people even know where they're going with all this? I understand playing around with the story arc in one franchise (we already saw how it hurt Spider-Man), but when you're screwing around with the story arcs in several franchises, the risk that it will eventually backfire becomes greater and greater.
Now that it's all beginning to take shape, would you rather Marvel leave each franchise alone to let them do their own thing over the course of, say, three films before bringing them all together for an Avengers movie? Or do you think Marvel is doing a bang-up job so far with these characters, and that those who question their decisions should just shut up and wait to see what happens next?