With Avengers: Age of Ultron hitting theaters in just three months we can expect pretty extensive coverage of the film in the coming weeks. First up is a pair of Age of Ultron covers from Empire‘s March issue, which not only highlight what to expect from the Agengers sequel, but how the events of Ultron are shaping the Marvel universe for what’s coming up in Captain America: Civil War. Civil War, which Anthony Mackie recently boasted as “Avengers 3.8“, will see Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark squaring off against Chris Evans‘ Steve Rogers in way that demands both characters undergo a massive transformation over the course of the next two films.
While speaking with Empire, Downey Jr touched on his decision to sign on to a co-starring in role in Captain America 3:
They said to me, ‘If we have you, we can do this, or Cap 3 has to be something else.’ It’s nice to feel needed. And at this point it’s about helping each other, too. I look at it as a competition and I go, ‘Wow, maybe if these two franchises teamed up and I can take even a lesser position, with people I like and directors I respect, maybe we can keep things bumping along.’
There’s no doubt landing Downey Jr. gives Cap 3 a huge boost, as Iron Man is the sort of godfather figure of the Marvel Universe, and Marvel’s only superhero that’s banked $1 Billion in a solo film. And while Stark has definitely evolved from the hard-partying ladies man of the first Iron Man, there’s still a lot of ground to cover before he becomes the the guy demanding all heroes register with the American Government for public safety. Downey Jr. sees it all as a natural extension of his character’s evolution given what the Avengers go through in Age of Ultron:
It’s natural to change your views…The main thing to me is, what sort of incident could occur, and what sort of framework could we find Tony in? The clues about where we might find him next are in Ultron. But what would it take for Tony to completely turn around everything he’s stood for? Joss brings this up all the time. It’s kind of weird that these guys would have all these throw downs all over planet Earth and yet when the movie’s over, nobody minds. What would the American government do if this were real? Wouldn’t it be interesting to see Tony doing something you wouldn’t imagine?
However, he doesn’t necessarily believe that Stark’s character transformation is headed in the manipulative and near-villainous direction of the comics, and he puts just as much emphasis on how Rogers will chance. So is Stark about to go from Marvel’s golden boy to the big bad? :
I wouldn’t put it that way. The biggest question is, for Chris and for Cap, how do we bring Cap to a place where people go, ‘Man, I never thought I would see such a vast change in Steve.’ After you see Snowpiercer, you’re like, ‘I want to see a little bit of that guy.’