Marvel's Kevin Feige explains how the studio will avoid a post-Avengers letdown

Producer and head of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige is like Uatu the Watcher when it comes to Marvel's movie properties — he sees everything that's going on. But now that The Avengers, the biggest movie in Marvel's arsenal is about to launch, what's next? How do you top that? How do you shake off sequel-itis?

And what's next for Thor 2, Iron Man 3, Captain America 2 and Hulk 3? We asked, Feige answered. And then we scanned the internet and found out more information. Plus find out what Chris Evans thinks is happening to Steve Rogers, and what's next for Loki and Thor from Tom Hiddleston. It's a massive Marvel movie round up. With some minor spoilers...

First up a few questions with Feige on the general future plans for our comic book heroes.

After The Avengers, a lot of Marvel's movies will be sequels. Other than rolling out more origin stories for lesser-known heroes, how do you avoid sequel-itis?

I'd love to say we've cracked a great formula and we have a big secret for it, but the truth is, we have the comics. The best of our characters have had great stories, and not just one great story, but multiple great stories. When you're producing a story a month for 45 years, there are going to be good ones, bad ones, and great ones. And there are enough great [stories] that a 2, a 3 or a 4 after a movie shouldn't hinder people from seeing it.

They take risks with characters in the comics, they change them up, they take them to unexpected places, the trick is to have the guts to do that in the movies as well. And that's how we made the first Iron Man film, and that's all of these movies. Making Captain America a period piece wouldn't have been very popular in the general Hollywood logic. But we believed that was the way we had to make that movie. We're continuing that with the Iron Man 3 with the next Thor movie in ways that I think will prevent sequel-itis... We won't use 2s, 3s and 4s on all of them. The notion of Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan — I think that's cool, I like those kinds of titles, Captain America: The First Avenger. I assume the next Captain America film will be Captain America: To Be Revealed.

All of the Marvel movies have been building up to The Avengers, now that this is rolling out, what's the next big thing you're building up to?

Kevin Feige: The next thing is proving we can prevent sequel-itis. The next thing is proving that taken away from a juggernaut of a movie like Avengers, that Tony Stark/Iron Man has a different story to tell. That Thor has different worlds to go do. And, frankly, explore Steve Rogers' life in the modern world. And taking him to unexpected places, and doing it in ways that we hope will surprise people.

So here's what Feige told us about Marvel's upcoming projects:

Marvel's Kevin Feige explains how the studio will avoid a post-Avengers letdown

Thor 2

While Feige confirmed to us that Thor will have to deal a lot more with the Nine Realms and will be spending time off planet Earth, which is to be expected. You can't dangle nine worlds in the viewers' faces, and not expect us to want to go exploring. But he did confirm separately to Superhero Hype that Thor will be reconnecting with Natalie Portman's character Jane Foster at some point.

And Loki actor Tom Hiddleston told us what he thought was next for his character in Thor 2. And we asked him if Thor still loves Loki even after all the despicable things he did in The Avengers:

Tom Hiddleston: I haven't read the script but I can imagine that Loki will get a pretty severe dressing down when he gets back to Asgard from his father. We'll see where it goes. What's interesting about The Avengers is that it takes Thor and Loki away from Asgard for a whole film. I imagine when we get back to Asgard [we] find out what's been happening there when we were away, and how my actions have implemented any repercussions in the nine realms.

Do you think Thor will ever stop loving Loki, and has Loki stopped loving Thor?

A wise man once said the opposite of love is not hate but indifference. And Loki is not indifferent to Thor, he hates him. And underneath that it must mean that he still loves him somewhere... I'm excited about the possibility of redemption. The possibility that Loki might one day be brought back to the good side. That Loki might be forgiven. And that he might forgive himself and allow Thor and Odin to forgive him.

Marvel's Kevin Feige explains how the studio will avoid a post-Avengers letdown

Hulk 3

Even though Mark Ruffalo was very open-minded and welcome to a new Hulk flick for most of the press conference, Feige made the low chances of yet another Hulk reboot crystal clear, when he was talking to the Huffington Post:

"Well, no. [The Avengers] was the other shot. Right? I mean, this was the third appearance of Hulk and everything that we had and were going for, we put in to Hulk's appearance in Avengers. So, I love that people are saying [positive things about the Hulk in Avengers] and are feeling that way about Hulk, but mission accomplished at this point. And the way we go forward, we'll see. But it was a long road to get to this point. Although, I will say, after the [premiere] screening, I heard various arguments over who was their favorite. Which is my favorite thing: Arguing over what was the favorite moment or character. And the fact that so many of them are saying "Hulk" feels very, very good. Where we go next, we'll see. But we'll be very careful about it and deliberate — as we were in how we wanted to bring him back in Avengers."

Marvel's Kevin Feige explains how the studio will avoid a post-Avengers letdown

Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3 just announced it was teaming up with Chinese marketing group, which will allow the crew to add "Chinese elements" to the film. We assume that means actually filming in China, among a few other things. But what about Tony? Where do we find Robert Downey Jr. and his sassy black goatee in the third Iron Man installment? In an interview with Collider Feige revealed a few spoilers:

Kevin Feige: Iron Man 3 is a full-on Tony Stark-centric movie — and I'll tell you because you're a good guy — is very much inspired by the first half of Iron Man 1. Metaphorically, we're not going back to the cave, there's nothing like that, but we've always said let's get Tony back to the cave, which is he's stripped of everything, he's backed up against a wall, and he's gotta use his intelligence to get out of it. He can't call Thor, he can't call Cap, he can't call Nick Fury, and he can't look for the Helicarrier in the sky.

Captain America 2

And finally Steve Rogers, what happens to the world's last soldier? We reiterate what Feige told us earlier, that the majority of the film would be following Steve as he deals with the living in a world where he doesn't belong. But Chris Evans himself shared a bit of insight in on what he knows in this interview in Brazil with Danger:

Chris Evans: I think they're going to try and push it in the direction of a political thriller. It picks up where we leave off with The Avengers. And Captain Rogers goes back to working for S.H.I.E.L.D. That's all he knows. He understands the military, he understands serving his country, so he goes back to serving his country with S.H.I.E.L.D. But we've got some good new characters in there. I probably can't tell you too much more or I'll get in trouble.

Other movies

So what non-sequels is Feige considering greenlighting? He told reporters that Marvel has picked which property will be the subject of its second 2014 movie — and the likeliest non-sequel or spin-off candidates would seem to be "Ant-Man, or Dr. Strange, or The Inhumans, or The Guardians of the Galaxy." Feige had this to say about the last possibility, according to Crave Online:

"We are very excited about bringing things like that, maybe things exactly like that, to the screen. [...] When you tell people, you know what would be really cool? This movie, and there's a raccoon, and there's a tree... And they go, 'What?' And people like you know what it is, and get excited. And the majority of people go, 'Did you say a raccoon and a tree?' 'Oh yeah, they're going to steal the whole movie. They're hilarious.' 'Okay, I'll believe it when I see it.' I like that...It's more Star-Lord and Drax and Gamora, and less Vance Astro and that team."

Full disclosure: Disney paid for io9's travel and expenses at this press junket.