After weeks/months of speculation over which name on the fabled Captain America 2 wish list would land the top job, Kevin Feige has finally settled on sitcom directors Anthony and Joe Russo to direct.
The Russo brothers last theatrical release was the poorly received You, Me And Dupree, but since then they have directed/produced some of the best sitcoms of the modern-era including Arrested Development and Community.
Beating out competition from The Adjustment Bureau's George Nolfi and F. Gary Gray, director of The Italian Job remake, the TV directors apparently "hit it off with Kevin in the room" during their storyboard presentation, according to one source, which is said to be a major factor in working for Marvel. It helps that, being primarily small-screen talent, they are probably incredibly cheap to hire. Remember, before The Avengers that label also applied to Joss Whedon.
Another recent piece of news comes fresh from the set of Iron Man 3, which reveals a familiar place for Marvel fans. While filming on location in North Carolina, an eagle-eyed fan snapped a picture of the exterior of "AIM."
AIM ("Advanced Idea Mechanics") originated as a research and development wing of the Red Skull's HYDRA, but after the war the group splintered off from the Nazi-supervillains. They are high-tech arms dealers, creating new and deadly weapons to sell to terrorist groups and supervillains. As we know Captain America 2 will be set primarily in the modern-day, AIM's connection to Cap's WW2 past would suggest a logical, but still familiar progression to his story.
AIM's soldiers have a very cool design which is part body armour, part hazmat suit. Check it out below, can you picture Captain America bashing his way through a horde of those guys? It would certainly be more colourful than the generic dark stormtrooper look of HYDRA:
The organisation is lead by the MODOK, a recurring villain in the Captain America comics. Who is MODOK, you ask? This guy:
Crazy, right? MODOK (short for "Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing") was originally an AIM scientist who was mutated into MODOC ("Mental Organism Designed Only for Computing"), a living computer designed with the intention of studying the Cosmic Cube. As the story always goes when you create A.I. or mutants, he rebelled and killed his former masters, seizing control of AIM.
As a side effect of the mutation, MODOK's head swells up to an implausible size, requiring him to use an exoskeleton/hover-chair as his limbs are no longer able to support the weight of his gigantic head.
He possesses superhuman intelligence, with a computer-like capacity for memory storage and calculation speeds. His abilities allow him to calculate the probability of every conceivable outcome to a scenario, granting him the ability to predict the future. But he's not all brains, his newfound gifts allow him to generate psionic energy which can be used to create force fields and energy beams.
Captain America 2's co-writer Christopher Markus has gone on record saying he has fought heroically for a MODOK movie, with Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage in mind for the role:
"I love MODOK and I think you could make a terrifying movie with MODOK but nobody seems to be on my side at the moment. I will win you over to Peter Dinklage as MODOK. If he came around the corner and you saw him floating there you would be terrified. It would be amazing. (They) really pulled off the Red Skull. It doesn't look like a mask. It looks like it's fully integrated into his flesh. And I want to see what they can do with MODOK."
Given how much effects work would be required to create the role, it really could be any actor playing this giant, evil floating head but I do like the idea of Peter Dinklage in the role. He has a good sense of humour, so even the silliest of Marvel's villains probably would not deter him, but he also has real gravitas and I believe he could make the role intimidating.
This story requires a lot of parsing but if Marvel are introducing AIM to the Movieverse, and note that they did not shy away from introducing Thanos (a big purple tyrant) in The Avengers, this could all be a sign that MODOK (in some form or another) may no longer be too outrageous for the big screen.
Here is my promise to you: If I live to see MODOK in a Captain America movie, I will likely high-five every person I meet on opening day.