In a little over a month, Marvel Studios will release Avengers: Age of Ultron. Like the first Avengers, Ultron’s a Joss Whedon joint, written and directed by the beloved Buffy geek auteur. Whedon has long hinted that he’d be departing the Marvel megafranchise after his second Avengers film. But Marvel has already announced a two-part Avengers epic, Infinity War, appearing in two installments currently scheduled for May 2018 and May 2019.
It looks like Marvel’s found their new franchise steersman. Badass Digest reports that Marvel Studios has officially signed Joe and Anthony Russo to direct the Avengers threequel duology. Marvel has no official comment, but EW has confirmed that the Russo Brothers are close to signing a deal to helm both parts of Infinity War.
It’s not necessarily a surprising announcement: The Russo Brothers became Marvel favorites after they helmed 2013’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, earning critical and commercial acclaim. Between Cap, Black Widow, and Nick Fury, Winter Soldier was already about 1/3 of an Avengers film. And next year’s Civil War is like 1/2 of an Avengers movie: A Captain America movie which is also sort of an Iron Man movie and might be a soft-launch beta-test for the next Spider-Man movie and could be as close as we ever get to a Hawkeye movie.
Still, it looked like the Russo brothers might be leaving the Marvel tent earlier this month, when they signed a deal with Sony. The Russos were quickly linked to Sony’s Ghosbusters project—the one about guys, not the one about girls—as part of the studio’s attempt to turn “The Ghostbusters Cinematic Universe” into something people say. Other theories persisted that they’d be taking on the new Spider-Man movie, which is being produced by Sony but will share a universe with Marvel and will have nothing to do with any other Spider-Man movie besides the characters and the setting and probably most of the villains. Confused yet?
The point is, the Russos are close to officially signing on to make Infinity War, which will come out in 2018 and 2019, by which time—if current statistics hold true—Captain America will have had six different costumes and Scarlett Johansson will be working on her 10th Black Widow wig.