10 questions we hope “The Avengers” will answer

10 questions we hope “The Avengers” will answer (photo)

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When “The Avengers” hits theaters next year, it will provide be the culmination of several years of exhaustive planning by the Marvel Studios team, and bring all of the characters introduced in their recent blockbuster films together for the first time. In short, it’s an ambitious goal — and not just because they’re putting Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, and Hulk on the same screen, but also because they’ll be expected to answer all of the questions they seeded throughout the five films leading up to this monumental team-up.

From Nick Fury’s back story to Iron Man’s alternate armor, there’s been no shortage of speculation fodder left behind by the studio over the last few years of Marvel movies. With that in mind, here are the ten questions we’re hoping to see answered when “The Avengers” premieres in 2012.

1. How long has Nick Fury been around?

During the multitude of Sam Jackson’s cameos as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Nick Fury, he’s hinted that all might not be as it appears when it comes to him and his history with the mysterious government agency. Along with inferring that he knew Tony Stark’s father in “Iron Man 2,” Fury has also indicated some familiarity with Captain America that goes beyond reading a few old newspapers. All of this leaves us wondering exactly how long the eyepatch-sporting secret agent has been pulling strings around the superhero world.

2. What happened to the War Machine armor after “Iron Man 2”?

We know that James “Rhodey” Rhodes has his own set of War Machine armor, so what has he been doing with it since we last saw him in “Iron Man 2”? In the Marvel movie timeline, “Iron Man 2” falls before both “The Incredible Hulk” and “Thor,” so one would assume War Machine’s been called into service by the government once or twice during that time. Why haven’t we heard about it?

3. Does Tony Stark know about his father’s involvement in Project: Rebirth?

In “Captain America: The First Avenger,” we learned that Howard Stark played a big role in turning sickly Steve Rogers into the super-soldier Captain America, and in “Iron Man 2,” we learned that he went on to play a similarly integral role in founding S.H.I.E.L.D. We know Tony’s aware of the latter piece of info (thanks to Nick Fury), but is he aware of his father’s connection to Captain America?

4. Is Bruce Banner in control of the Hulk now?

The “Avengers” teaser shown after the credits rolled in “Captain America” confirmed much of what we already knew about the team’s lineup, but there have been big questions about Hulk’s role on the team. The preview didn’t seem to indicate that anyone was worried about Bruce Banner turning into his green-skinned alter ego, so what changed since we last saw him in “The Incredible Hulk”?

5. Is Black Widow on the good guys’ team?

In the Marvel Comics world, Natasha Romanoff has been on both sides of the superhuman world, cast as both a superhero and a supervillain at different points. In Marvel’s “Ultimate” universe — the inspiration for much of the cinematic universe — she was a villain who helped infiltrate and subsequently take down the Avengers team. From what we’ve seen of her so far, she seems to on the good guys’ team, but will that change?

6. What happened to Loki?

Even though Loki disappeared into the cosmic abyss at the end of “Thor,” audiences learned via a post-credits scene in that same film that he was far from out of the picture. Since then, Marvel has revealed that he’ll be one of the major players in “The Avengers,” so that begs the question: What happened between his fall from Asgard and the post-credits scene in “Thor”?

7. Who will lead the Avengers?

In the Marvel Comics world, Captain America has long been regarded as the Avengers’ team leader, despite Iron Man’s status as one of the team’s original founders (Captain America didn’t join the team until a few issues into the original “Avengers” comic book series). At the end of “Iron Man 2,” we learned that Nick Fury had turned down Tony Stark for membership on the team, but was willing to have him serve as a consultant. That, paired with his post-credits appearance in “The Incredible Hulk” as an emissary for The Avengers Initiative prompts a lot of questions about his role on the team.

8. Why was Tony Stark recruiting for Avengers in “Incredible Hulk” instead of Nick Fury?

In every post-credits recruiting scene we’ve seen thus far, Nick Fury has always been the one approaching prospective members of his Avengers Initiative — all except one, that is. At the end of “The Incredible Hulk,” we see Tony Stark making a pitch to General Ross about a new “team” he’s forming. Why the switch-up from Nick Fury to Tony Stark? Here’s hoping we get an answer next year.

9. Will the Hulk be a good guy or a bad guy?

In the first issue of the Avengers comic book series, the threat that brings together Iron Man, Thor, and the rest of the team is a rampaging Hulk. They soon learn that Loki was controlling the Hulk, though, and the jade giant joins the team. In Marvel’s Ultimate universe, it’s a similar threat that unites the team, though Captain America is around from the start this time, and plays a major role in bringing down Bruce Banner’s alter ego. Given the similarity of these two stories, it’s no surprise that everyone’s expecting to see Hulk go on a destructive spree yet again, and force the Avengers to unite against him. However, hints about Loki’s role in the film and the reveal of the Cosmic Cube call some of the assumptions into question. Will Hulk play the role of good guy in the film, or will he fall more in line with his comics counterpart?

10. What about Wasp and Ant-Man?

As I mentioned earlier, Captain America wasn’t a founding member of the Avengers in the original comic book series. However, Iron Man, Thor, Ant-Man, and The Wasp were there from the start (and technically, so was the Hulk). Given what we’ve seen of the film so far, it seems strange that this duo seems to have been omitted from the live-action Avengers team. We know Edgar Wright has an “Ant-Man” movie in the mix, but given the character’s status as one of the team’s most regular members over the last few decades, it’s a surprise to not see him among the founding members in the movie. The same goes for Janet Van Dyne (a.k.a. The Wasp), who was the one to come up with the name “Avengers” in the comics world.

Which questions do you hope “The Avengers” will answer? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar


IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”

Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”

But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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