Marvel fans wondering just what the hell is coming next for the comics magnate's movie universe, you're not alone: Even a member of the studio's unofficial farm team doesn't really know.
Drew Pearce is an ascending star in the Marvel universe, having written the super-successful "Iron Man 3," creating an immortal character with Sir Ben Kingsley's Mandarin (or should we say "Mandarin"), and now stepping out as writer and director of the Kingsley-centric one-shot, "All Hail the King," available on the home release of "Thor: The Dark World."
Though Pearce is clearly smitten with the studio, exclaiming "fingers crossed!" when asked in a recent interview with MTV News whether he might soon sit in the director's chair for a feature, he doesn't know what the future holds for Phase 3 and beyond either.
"There's a list of heroes I'd love to see," he said of rumored projects. "Doctor Strange would be brilliant, Drew Goddard's going to do Daredevil much better than I ever could, but I'm jealous of that. God, Cloak and Dagger, I even like Cloak and Dagger, and I think there's a brilliant movie to be made with them. I'm sure none of them will come to fruition because nobody really cares what I think, so that's OK."
Pearce also wrote a draft of a script for "Runaways," which has since been shelved by the studio. That's not the only project he'd like to see in the limelight.
If Marvel execs are listening, there's one cult favorite in particular that Pearce would love to see come back: Damage Control, the '80s comic strip featuring a cast of blue collar emergency service workers who clean up the epic messes that tend to come after superhero showdowns like those that occur in, oh, nearly every Marvel movie.
"Who cleaned up New York?" Pearce asked of the destruction at the end of "Marvel's The Avengers." "Was it S.H.I.E.L.D.? S.H.I.E.L.D., it doesn't appear to me, might not know how to rebuild a building or something. But you wouldn't just get a contractor in because what if there's something residual there? In the comic strips, Damage Control is all blue collar guys and girls, and some of them have super powers and some of them don't.
"There's a nice way of looking at how in the increasing Marvel universe where people are more aware inside the movies that they're living in a world full of superheroes. It's a microcosm for exploring real people and their reactions to those superpowers."
Though Pearce's next steps with the studio may remain under wraps for now, there's one man he's worked with on both his big Marvel projects that he doesn't seem like he'd turn away a shot to work with for a third time: Kingsley, whom he calls "the opposite of lazy." And, more directly, whom he calls "Sir Ben" at all times.
"I'm a British man, and he is a knight of my country," Pearce said. "I would be totally remiss not to call him by that name. If he was a doctor I'd call him Dr. Ben. He's a knight, so I call him Sir Ben. I think it's important to be a gentleman about these things."
"Thor: The Dark World," including the one-shot "All Hail the King," will be available on Blu-ray and DVD February 25.