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Marvel will announce Wolverine or Spider-Man will appear in 'Avengers 2'
After first hearing rumblings about it in 2011, look for the complete integration of the Marvel Universe on the big screen to begin in 2013. Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures came close to including Osborn Tower in the Manhattan backdrop of "The Avengers" last year only to discover it was too late in the CG rendering process to make it work. The fact it came to fruition, however, shows a willingness from Marvel (and Disney) to work with both Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox (the two studios who control Spider-Man, the X-Men and Fantastic Four movie franchises) to connect all the heroes in the same cinematic universe. And while fans may jump for joy at the creative possibilities, it's really all about business. The licensing, home entertainment and, to a lesser extent, theme park opportunities could be very lucrative for everyone involved. Sony is obviously already game and now that Mark Millar is part of the superhero creative brain trust at 20th Century Fox (with thorny Tom Rothman gone) even the Century City studio could be in the mix (and if you didn't think Fox letting the rights to Daredevil lapse wasn't partially an olive branch you don't know politics). And the global dominance of "The Avengers" has only exacerbated Sony and Fox's willingness to work with Marvel more than ever. Therefore, don't be surprised if either Spider-Man or Wolverine (both members of the comic book Avengers for almost a decade) find themselves participating in Joss Whedon's sequel. With production expected to begin in early 2014, Marvel's own version of an Apple product launch - Comic-Con - is likely the perfect place to do it.
- Gregory Ellwood