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终局之战已经结束,漫威宇宙还会如何演进?

Hugh Hart 2019年08月10日

讲述复仇者联盟超级英雄团队的作品虽已结束,但漫威电影宇宙还未出现任何收缩的迹象。

黑豹、奇异博士、雷神和蜘蛛侠。图片来源:Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Everett Collection (4)

(注:本文包含某些漫威角色后续情节的剧透。)

《复仇者联盟4:终局之战》有望成为有史以来票房最高的电影,尽管其战绩是一个难以复制的神话,但漫威电影宇宙在上月来了个异常漂亮的回马枪——《蜘蛛侠:英雄远征》。上映两周以来,该影片在全球揽获了8.47亿美元票房。

这部超级英雄的惊险游记打破了困扰其他续集所谓的“体系审美疲劳”,而且属于迪士尼漫威影业与索尼/哥伦比亚影业之间的罕有合作,它讲述了《复联4》之后的故事:蜘蛛侠发现,他的导师,也就是不幸去世的“钢铁侠”托尼·斯塔克(小罗伯特·唐尼扮演)把最强大的打怪科技的使用权留给了他。《英雄远征》使用如今漫威电影惯用的手段,通过其片尾字幕彩蛋推动了故事情节的进一步发展,并利用邪恶的神秘客(杰克·吉伦哈尔扮演)所捏造的反转情节,为第三部汤姆·霍兰德参演的蜘蛛侠电影埋下了伏笔。

《英雄远征》剧本的合著者克里斯·麦肯纳和艾瑞克·索莫斯此前曾经执笔漫威电影《蚁人2:黄蜂女现身》和《蜘蛛侠:英雄归来》,他们花了不少气力才将蜘蛛侠的过去与未来融入了漫威宇宙电影系列。索莫斯向《财富》杂志透露:“当我们开始制作这类电影时,漫威工作人员通常都会汇编一篇文档,然后进行内部讨论,例如他们希望看到什么内容,需要为此前的电影支付多少费用,以及需要插入什么新内容。”

麦肯纳称,在《英雄远征》中,漫威电影宇宙的延续性集中在两条横贯始终的故事线上。“我们通过多部电影来构建蜘蛛侠与钢铁侠之间的关系,这样,这部电影在交代钢铁侠的身后事以及他的(死)对蜘蛛侠的影响时,人们的脑海中就不会存在任何疑问。这也是为什么钢铁侠对本部电影有着如此大影响的原因。”

麦肯纳与前电视喜剧编剧索莫斯还使用粗暴的尼克·弗瑞(萨缪尔·杰克逊扮演)作为一个无所适从的喜剧性调剂,以改变其更为沉重的戏剧氛围。作为漫威电影宇宙的固定角色,这位神盾局领袖还出现在了令人惊讶的片尾彩蛋中,而这也暗示了复仇者联盟的后续故事。

索莫斯说:“观众们喜爱弗瑞,我们也喜爱弗瑞,因此我们非常高兴将他融入《英雄远征》。他的确属于那种定调式的人物,能够让观众们知道自己是在观看一部漫威电影宇宙的电影。”

《英雄远征》为漫威影业总体规划的“第三阶段”画上了句号。这部讲述复仇者联盟超级英雄团队的宏伟叙事作品催生出了23部电影,但漫威电影宇宙还未出现任何收缩的迹象。

对于“第四阶段”,漫威影业的总裁凯文·费吉准备逐步推出一系列受漫威角色启发的电影,其中既有知名的也有不知名的角色。费吉向《洛杉矶时报》透露:“制定五年计划从一开始就让我们受益匪浅。我们在过去四年中一直在探讨(第四阶段)……打造……未来的系列影片,并力求继续给粉丝们带来惊喜,同时将众多角色搬上荧幕……除非是铁杆漫画粉丝,有些角色人们可能都没有听说过。”

这些新面孔包括《永恒族》。这部电影由《骑士》的导演赵婷执导,安吉丽娜·朱莉主演,讲述的是有关一个神秘永生族群的故事。此外,改编自1974-1983年漫画《功夫大师》的武打电影《上气》据称正处于制作阶段,由华裔美籍作家大卫·卡拉哈姆执笔,导演德斯汀·克里顿(执导过《少年收容所》)执导。

漫威于7月20日在圣迭戈举行的动漫大会上公布“第四阶段”细节,该公司将继续奉行“白人紧身衣英雄概念”的多元化路线,而这一概念曾经是已故斯坦·李和其合作者在20世纪60和70年代漫画作品中的主打思想。继奥斯卡提名热卖影片《黑豹》之后,《黑豹2》再次力邀查德维克·博斯曼出演瓦坎达国王特查卡,由莱恩·库格勒担任导演。布瑞·拉森有可能回归,在今年《惊奇队长》(全球票房11亿美元)的续作中扮演动作英雄卡罗尔·丹弗斯(惊奇队长)。今夏在欧洲拍摄的《黑寡妇》将重启娜塔莎·罗曼诺夫(斯嘉丽·约翰逊扮演)的征程,并作为独立影片系列由澳大利亚导演卡凯特·休特兰(执导过《柏林综合症》)执导。

即将拍摄的还包括《银河护卫队3》,依然由詹姆斯·古恩(他此前曾经就2009年和2010年发布的无礼推文道歉)执导,以及由本尼迪克特·康伯巴奇主演的《神奇博士2》。

编剧家扎克·施坦茨在2011年撰写《雷神》剧本时亲身体验了漫威影业整体性的叙事风格,他把漫威电影宇宙比作是“一个异常昂贵的电视剧,每一年仅制作两到三集。”施坦茨的作品还包括电视剧《危机边缘》,他向《财富》杂志透露:“费吉就像是一位有着远见卓识的制片人,他会在故事的切入方面给每位导演很多空间。正因为如此,诸如《冬日战士》这样的冷战谍战惊悚片,以及像《雷神3:诸神黄昏》这类调侃飞侠哥顿的影片才能够和谐共存于同一个宇宙。”

漫威耗费了不少时间才搭建了这样一个庞大的电影帝国。费吉的前任、出生于以色列的玩具设计师阿维·阿拉德带领漫威闯入了好莱坞,在这之前,他的老板伊柯·波尔穆特的Toy Biz公司于1998年收购了破产漫威漫画的超级英雄资产。

阿拉德在儿童时代变痴迷于漫威漫画,他觉得自己包装的这些玩具人偶英雄应该成为电影明星。影业公司一开始对他的提议嗤之以鼻,但在2000年,阿拉德最终说服福克斯拍摄了《X战警》。两年后,索尼制作了首部《蜘蛛侠》电影。突然,漫威角色以独立电影的形式,通过包括环球影视在内的其他制片公司积累了不少人气,而环球影视在2003年和2008年推出了两个不同版本的《绿巨人》,分别由艾瑞克·巴纳和爱德华·诺顿主演。

阿拉德零碎的交易方式逐渐被更有凝聚力的方式所取代,当时,费吉站了出来,拍摄了2008年的《钢铁侠》。自那之后,漫威电影宇宙所体现的内在关联被费吉和他的漫威影业团队认真地勾勒了出来。2009年,迪士尼斥资42.4亿美元收购了漫威娱乐公司,随后漫威影业得以成立。

与此同时,漫威根据漫画改编的X战警系列以及相关作品则在福克斯旗下单独运作,与漫威/迪士尼创作的故事线没有任何关联。例如,由莱恩·雷诺斯扮演的韦德·威尔森让R级影片《死侍》和《死侍2》在全球揽获了近16亿美元的票房。然而在4月,福克斯制作的X战警系列电影《黑凤凰》却在票房上(全球2.49亿美元)遭遇了滑铁卢。既然迪士尼已经收购了21世纪福克斯,X战警变种人是否会很快加入漫威电影宇宙系列呢?

短时间内是看不到了。

漫威老板费吉在io9的一个采访中表示:“我们一直在打造的五年规划在这些(收购)敲定之前便已经开始酝酿了。对我们来说,目前没必要讨论(《X战警》)什么时候以及在哪里出现这些具体细节,它的回归更多地只是让我们感到欣慰,而且也是一件令人欣喜的事情。他们现在都已经回来了,但要与其他作品融合需要很长的时间。”

《雷神》的编剧施坦茨也曾编写过《X战警:第一战》的剧本,他预测《X战警》系列将在某个时间点获得“硬重启”式的重铸,并启用全新的演员阵容。他说:“在我看来,将X战警融入漫威电影宇宙最大的挑战在于,很简单,X战警是被边缘化的人,人类对他们又恨又怕,反观漫威电影宇宙中,那些有着超能力的人都是人类的朋友,保护人类免受外星人的侵略。至于他们如何在这个世界中调和喜欢超级英雄、排斥变种人的矛盾,应该是一件很有意思的事情。然而……我坚信(费吉)一定会找到方法。”

很明显,不管有没有X战警,漫威的超级英雄帝国有着大量的漫画书作为支撑,能够在未来几年中为影迷们提供观影动力,前提是每部电影自身都有其突出的实力。《蜘蛛侠:英雄远征》的联合编剧索莫斯曾经表示:“我认为漫威不会仅因为连续性而将某些内容加入电影。如果一些元素与故事相悖,他们不会为了大而全而牺牲电影。漫威始终希望尽其所能把故事讲好。这才是重点。”(财富中文网)

译者:冯丰

审校:夏林

Poised to become the highest-grossing movie of all time, Avengers: Endgame is a tough act to follow, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe staged a show-stopping encore last month when Spider-Man: Far From Home pulled in $847 million worldwide during its first two weeks of release.

Defying so-called “franchise fatigue” besetting other sequels, this superhero-as-tourist spectacle, produced in an unusual partnership between Disney-based Marvel Studios and Sony/Columbia Pictures, picks up where Endgame left off: Spider-Man discovers that his mentor, the dearly departed Tony “Iron Man” Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.), has bequeathed him access to powerful monster-fighting technologies. In a now-customary Marvel move, Far From Home uses its end-credits sequence to kick the saga forward, setting up a third Tom Holland-as-Spider-Man movie via a plot twist engineered by villainous Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal).

Far From Home co-writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, who previously penned Ant-Man and the Wasp and Spider-Man: Homecoming for Marvel, took pains to stitch Peter Parker;s journey into the firmament of MCU movies past and future. “When we start on a movie like this, the folks at Marvel have typically assembled a document and discussed internally, what they’d like to see, what bills need to be paid from the previous films and what needs to be set up,” Sommers told Fortune.

In the case of Far From Home, MCU continuity centered on two through-lines, according to McKenna. “The relationship between Peter Parker and Tony Stark had been built over several movies so there was no question in anyone’s mind that this movie had to deal with the aftermath of losing Tony and how that [death] would affect Peter Parker. That’s why Iron Man looms so large over this story.”

McKenna and Sommers, former TV comedy scribes, also used gruff Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) as fish-out-of-water comic relief to leaven the heavier dramatic beats. A fixture in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the S.H.I.E.L.D. leader also figures in a surprise end-credits reveal that hints at further Avengers adventures.

“Audiences love Nick Fury and we love Nick Fury so we were excited to put him in Far From Home,” Sommers says. “He really sort of grounds things and lets you know you’re in an MCU movie.”

Far From Home draws the curtain on “Phase 3”of Marvel Studios’ master plan. Twenty-three movies into its mega-narrative tracking the Avengers superhero team, the Marvel Cinematic Universe shows no signs of contracting.

For “Phase 4,” Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige envisions a steady stream of pictures inspired by Marvel characters both famous and obscure. “Setting a five-year path has been very beneficial to us from the beginning,” Feige told the Los Angeles Times. “We’ve been working on [Phase 4] for the last four years… developing… the next group of films and looking to continue to surprise fans and bring characters to the screen … that people, unless they’re really hardcore comic fans, may not have heard of.”

Among the fresh franchise faces: The Eternals. Directed by Chinese filmmaker Chloé Zhao (The Rider) and starring Angelina Jolie, the film will introduce a secret race of immortal beings. Further down the road, martial arts project Shang-Chi, based on the 1974-1983 “Master of Kung Fu” comics, is reportedly being developed with Chinese-American writer David Callaham and director Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12).

Marvel, expected to announce “Phase 4” details on July 20 at San Diego Comic-Con, continues to diversify the white guys-in-tights formula that dominated the 1960s and ’70s comic book stories created by the late Stan Lee and his collaborators. Black Panther 2, following on Oscar-nominated blockbuster Black Panther ($1.3 billion), reunites Chadwick Boseman as Wakanda King T’Challa with director Ryan Coogler. Brie Larson will likely return as action hero Carol Danvers in a sequel to this year’s Captain Marvel ($1.1 billion worldwide). Black Widow, filming in Europe this summer, will somehow resuscitate Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff, as a standalone feature from Australian director Cate Shortland (Berlin Syndrome).

Also in the pipeline are Guardians of the Galaxy 3, again helmed by director James Gunn (following his apology for offensive tweets made in 2009 and 2010), and Doctor Strange 2 starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

Screenwriter Zack Stentz, who experienced Marvel Studios’ holistic storytelling methodology firsthand when he wrote 2011 movie Thor, likens the MCU to “an incredibly expensive television show that drops two to three episodes a year.” Stentz, whose credits also include TV’s Fringe, told Fortune: “Feige is like the visionary showrunner who gives individual directors a lot of leeway over their own entries. That’s how you can have a Cold War spy thriller like Winter Soldier and a big goofy tribute to Flash Gordon like Thor: Ragnarok existing side by side in the same universe.”

Marvel’s massive movie empire took some time to build. Feige’s predecessor, Israeli-born toy designer Avi Arad, spearheaded Marvel’s invasion of Hollywood after his boss Ike Perlmutter’s Toy Biz company acquired the superhero assets in 1998 from a bankrupt Marvel Comics.

Arad, who’d obsessed over Marvel Comics as a kid, was convinced the characters he’d packaged as action figures deserved to be movie stars. Studios initially snubbed his pitches but in 2000, Arad finally persuaded Fox to make X-Men. Two years later, Sony produced the first Spider-Man. Suddenly, Marvel characters had heat in the form of standalone films from disparate studios including Universal Studios, which in 2003 and 2008 distributed two completely different takes on the Incredible Hulk featuring, respectively, Eric Bana and Edward Norton.

Arad’s piecemeal deal-making gave way to a more cohesive approach when Feige stepped up to produce 2008’s Iron Man. The inter-connections seen in MCU movies since then have been meticulously mapped out by Feige and his team at Marvel Studios, created after Disney purchased Marvel Entertainment in 2009 for $4.24 billion.

Meanwhile, the Marvel Comics-based X-Men franchise—and related titles—have operated separately under the Fox umbrella, disconnectedfrom Marvel/Disney-incubated storylines. Wade Wilson, for example, played by Ryan Reynolds, anchored R-rated Deadpool and Deadpool 2 to the tune of nearly $1.6 billion in the worldwide box office. But in April, Fox-produced X-Men movie Dark Phoenix fizzled at the box office ($249 million worldwide). Now that 21st Century Fox has been acquired by Disney, will X-Men mutants be joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe any time soon?

Don't hold your breath.

Marvel boss Feige said in an interview with io9: “The five-year plan that we’ve been working on, we were working on before any of that [acquisition] was set. For us, it’s less about specifics of when and where [the X-Men will appear] right now and more just the comfort factor and how nice it is that they’re home. That they’re all back. But it will be a very long time.”

Thor writer Stentz, who also scripted X-Men: First Class, predicts that the X-Men franchise will at some point get a “hard reboot” recast with entirely new actors. “To my mind,” he says, “The biggest challenge of integrating the X-Men into the Marvel Cinematic Universe is simply that the X-Men are defined by being outsiders, hated and feared, whereas in the MCU, people with superpowers are our friends who rescue us from aliens. It'll be interesting to see how they reconcile a world that likes superheroes with a world where mutants are persecuted as outsiders. But… I have no doubt [Feige] will figure out a way.”

With or without X-Men, Marvel's superhero industrial complex clearly has plenty of comic book-based fuel to galvanize moviegoers for the next few years—as long as each movie excels on its own merits. As Far From Home co-writer Sommers observes, “I don’t think Marvel ever wants to throw things into a movie just for the sake of connectivity. If some element is fighting the story, they’re not going to sacrifice the movie for the sake of the overall whole. Marvel always wants to tell the best story they can. That’s the priority.”

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