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Joss Whedon and Kevin Feige explain “The Avengers” post-credits scene

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SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS!

As you probably know by now, “The Avengers” ends with two post-credit scenes. In one of them, we’re introduced to one of the most badass Marvel villains of all: Thanos.

The Mad Titan does little more than smirk after the leader of the Chitauri tells him that “to attack Earth would be to court death,” but die-hard Marvel fans know that this foreshadows great things to come. For a great rundown on just who Thanos is, you should check out Devin Faraci’s write-up over at Badass Digest, but for now suffice it to say that he is a Big Bad in love with the humanoid embodiment of Death.

During an interview with /Film at “The Avengers” press conference, Joss Whedon revealed that even he was surprised that Marvel let him tease Thanos so early on in the “Avengers” game.

“He for me is the most powerful and fascinating Marvel villain. He’s the great grand daddy of the badasses and he’s in love with death and I just think that’s so cute,” Whedon said. “Somebody had to be in control and had to be behind Loki’s work and I was like ‘It’s got to be Thanos.’ And they said ‘Okay’ and I’m like ‘Oh my God!'”

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige hinted that there probably wouldn’t be a Thanos payoff until “Guardians of the Galaxy” or “The Avengers 2,” but they liked the way that his introduction would hype fans who are in the know and get the ones who aren’t asking questions.

“All you need is five percent of the audience to be vocal enough that it starts to spread and Nick Fury was the same way. That really spread. So I think Thanos will be the same way,” Feige said. “During the premiere last night there were two guys behind me, I don’t know who they were, when Thanos turned around they went ‘Oh my God, it’s that… What’s his name? I can’t remember his name, but he’s that… Oh my God.’ So you know clearly in the way it’s presented, it’s somebody important, so ‘ask somebody.'”

Talk about a great way to sell comic books! He also added that he and the rest of the folks at Marvel told Whedon the basic premise they wanted for “Avengers,” but let him take the reins on how to deal with it.

“I wanted to get cosmic and did with ‘Thor’ and told him that we wanted it to be aliens, that a portal opens in New York and aliens pour out, because the Cosmic Cube opened a portal,” Feige said. “Who they were, what they were, and how they interacted was all Joss and Joss is a huge fan of Thanos.”

At least Thanos’s introduction seems like a great way to guarantee that Whedon will be back to play around with the character more in “The Avengers 2,” which will likely hit theaters sometime around 2015.

Are you glad Whedon introduced Thanos? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

Soap tv show

As the Spoof Turns

15 Hilarious Soap Opera Parodies

Catch the classic sitcom Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures Television

The soap opera is the indestructible core of television fandom. We celebrate modern series like The Wire and Breaking Bad with their ongoing storylines, but soap operas have been tangling more plot threads than a quilt for decades. Which is why pop culture enjoys parodying them so much.

Check out some of the funniest soap opera parodies below, and be sure to catch Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

1. Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

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Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was a cult hit soap parody from the mind of Norman Lear that poked daily fun at the genre with epic twists and WTF moments. The first season culminated in a perfect satire of ratings stunts, with Mary being both confined to a psychiatric facility and chosen to be part of a Nielsen ratings family.


2. IKEA Heights

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IKEA Heights proves that the soap opera is alive and well, even if it has to be filmed undercover at a ready-to-assemble furniture store totally unaware of what’s happening. This unique webseries brought the classic formula to a new medium. Even IKEA saw the funny side — but has asked that future filmmakers apply through proper channels.


3. Fresno

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When you’re parodying ’80s nighttime soaps like Dallas and Dynasty , everything about your show has to equally sumptuous. The 1986 CBS miniseries Fresno delivered with a high-powered cast (Carol Burnett, Teri Garr and more in haute couture clothes!) locked in the struggle for the survival of a raisin cartel.


4. Soap

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Soap was the nighttime response to daytime soap operas: a primetime skewering of everything both silly and satisfying about the source material. Plots including demonic possession and alien abduction made it a cult favorite, and necessitated the first televised “viewer discretion” disclaimer. It also broke ground for featuring one of the first gay characters on television in the form of Billy Crystal’s Jodie Dallas. Revisit (or discover for the first time) this classic sitcom every Saturday morning on IFC.


5. Too Many Cooks

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Possibly the most perfect viral video ever made, Too Many Cooks distilled almost every style of television in a single intro sequence. The soap opera elements are maybe the most hilarious, with more characters and sudden shocking twists in an intro than most TV scribes manage in an entire season.


6. Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace

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Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace was more mockery than any one medium could handle. The endless complications of Darkplace Hospital are presented as an ongoing horror soap opera with behind-the-scenes anecdotes from writer, director, star, and self-described “dreamweaver visionary” Garth Marenghi and astoundingly incompetent actor/producer Dean Learner.


7. “Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive,” MadTV

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Soap opera connoisseurs know that the most melodramatic plots are found in Korea. MADtv‘s parody Tae Do  (translation: Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive) features the struggles of mild-mannered characters with far more feelings than their souls, or subtitles, could ever cope with.


8. Twin Peaks

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Twin Peaks, the twisted parody of small town soaps like Peyton Place whose own creator repeatedly insists is not a parody, has endured through pop culture since it changed television forever when it debuted in 1990. The show even had it’s own soap within in a soap called…


9. “Invitation to Love,” Twin Peaks

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Twin Peaks didn’t just parody soap operas — it parodied itself parodying soap operas with the in-universe show Invitation to Love. That’s more layers of deceit and drama than most televised love triangles.


10. “As The Stomach Turns,” The Carol Burnett Show

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The Carol Burnett Show poked fun at soaps with this enduring take on As The World Turns. In a case of life imitating art, one story involving demonic possession would go on to happen for “real” on Days of Our Lives.


11. Days of our Lives (Friends Edition)

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Still airing today, Days of Our Lives is one of the most famous soap operas of all time. They’re also excellent sports, as they allowed Friends star Joey Tribbiani to star as Dr Drake Ramoray, the only doctor to date his own stalker (while pretending to be his own evil twin). And then return after a brain-transplant.

And let’s not forget the greatest soap opera parody line ever written: “Come on Joey, you’re going up against a guy who survived his own cremation!”


12. Acorn Antiques

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First appearing on the BBC sketch comedy series Victoria Wood As Seen on TV, Acorn Antiques combines almost every low-budget soap opera trope into one amazing whole. The staff of a small town antique store suffer a disproportional number of amnesiac love-triangles, while entire storylines suddenly appear and disappear without warning or resolution. Acorn Antiques was so popular, it went on to become a hit West End musical.


13. “Point Place,” That 70s Show

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In a memorable That ’70s Show episode, an unemployed Red is reduced to watching soaps all day. He becomes obsessed despite the usual Red common-sense objections (like complaining that it’s impossible to fall in love with someone in a coma). His dreams render his own life as Point Place, a melodramatic nightmare where Kitty leaves him because he’s unemployed. (Click here to see all airings of That ’70s Show on IFC.)


14. The Spoils of Babylon

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Bursting from the minds of Will Ferrell and creators Andrew Steele and Matt Piedmont, The Spoils of Babylon was a spectacular parody of soap operas and epic mini-series like The Thorn Birds. Taking the parody even further, Ferrell himself played Eric Jonrosh, the author of the book on which the series was based. Jonrosh returned in The Spoils Before Dying, a jazzy murder mystery with its own share of soapy twists and turns.

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15. All My Children Finale, SNL

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SNL‘s final celebration of one of the biggest soaps of all time is interrupted by a relentless series of revelations from stage managers, lighting designers, make-up artists, and more. All of whom seem to have been married to or murdered by (or both) each other.

Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige talks “Spider-Man,” “X-Men” and “Fantastic Four”

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“The Avengers” is finally coming out this Friday, and we largely have Kevin Feige to thank for that.

The Marvel Studios president had a lengthy conversation with Wired recently that touches on a lot of subjects, including the Marvel properties owned by other studios. The magazine asked whether it was difficult assembling the Avengers without such big names as Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four in their arsenal, but Feige said it ultimately worked out to Marvel’s advantage.

“Well, look, clearly we would prefer everything be at home, so to speak. But all the contracts are different. Some of them have very firm reversion dates, and some of them we don’t expect to get back any time soon, let’s put it that way. We’re fine with that,” Feige said. “We have a great relationship with Sony and Fox. Would we like to have them all back? Sure. But we are more than comfortable with the way things stand now, because it worked out pretty well, right?”

He continued, “The Avengers is a gargantuan part of the Marvel Universe, as big a part or bigger than X-Men, bigger than Fantastic Four. There’s no doubt that Spider-Man is the most well-known, but in terms of families of characters, Avengers is bigger. Yes, the book has been around so long that almost every single character has popped in and out at some point. But there was a little bit of planning and a lot of luck that we ended up with Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye, Widow, Fury, SHIELD, all within our rights. Because that obviously led up to ‘The Avengers.'”

The whole chat is very interesting, but one of the greatest moments comes at the end when Feige starts talking about how superhero movies got a big boost in 2008. He thanks Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” for that, but also comments on how studios’ views on the comic book genre has changed over the past decade.

“Chris Nolan’s Batman is the greatest thing that happened because it bolstered everything. Imagine the one-two punch in 2008 of ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Dark Knight’? It was great,” Feige said. “Six years earlier I was having conversations with studio execs where they’d say, ‘Why don’t you come work for us? These comic book movies can’t last forever. It’s probably towards the tail end.’ And I, being with big bright-eyed naiveté would go, ‘I don’t know, I think we can do more. I think there’s more fun to be had.'”

Do you wish that Marvel had control of Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four as well? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

Marvel working on two mystery movies: Are they “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Inhumans”?

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Oh Ryan Penagos, you tease. The executive editorial director at Marvel Digital Media Group posted some of the most tantalizing Marvel news we’ve seen in a while.

“My folder for emails about @Marvel’s The @Avengers at work has reached a critical point,” he tweeted, including a picture of his mailbox to prove his point.

Yes, “Avengers” has 666 emails in its folder and “Captain America” has 217, but we couldn’t help but be distracted by the two blurred out movies on the list. Could it be that Marvel has two secret movies up its sleeve?

It seems likely, especially considering the fact that Marvel has already announced that they will be releasing an undisclosed movie in 2014 alongside “Captain America 2.” And since Kevin Feige already said that out of “Ant-Man,” “Runaways,” “The Inhumans” and “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “two out of those four are much closer than people realize, and we’ll be talking about them in the coming months,” it’s likely that the unrevealed movies are from that list.

Let’s use some of our powers of deduction, shall we? This list that Penagos has revealed is in alphabetical order from what we can tell, which narrows down which movies he could be hiding. My guess is that the two films that are being discussed are “Guardians of the Galaxy” — shortened in Penagos’s email to “Galaxy” — and “The Inhumans” — shortened to “Inhumans.”

Those guesses seem to align themselves with the news we heard back in October about Marvel’s upcoming movie slate. “Guardians of the Galaxy” is supposed to be tied to “Thor 2,” so it would make sense that the former come out the year after the “Thor” sequel does. And since “Inhumans” is being cultivated as a follow-up of sorts to “Avengers,” it makes sense that Marvel wait until after “The Avengers” hits theaters to reveal more information about it.

What movies do you think Penagos is hiding? Let us know in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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