Confirming what had been speculated, Marvel Studios has pencilled in a May 1st, 2015 release date for ‘The Avengers 2.’ Widely praised by fans and critics alike, Marvel’s ‘The Avengers’ is currently sitting comfortably at the third spot on the all-time world box office list with a hefty haul of $1.436 billion, trailing only James Cameron’s ’Titanic’ ($2.185 billion) and ‘Avatar’ ($2.782 billion). Marvel recently signed a deal for ‘The Avengers’ writer/director Joss Whedon to return for ‘The Avengers 2′ as well as help develop a new live-action series for Marvel Television at ABC.  The filmmaker will also contribute creatively to the next phase of Marvel’s cinematic universe. ‘The Avengers 2′ will follow ‘Iron Man 3,’ ‘Thor: The Dark World,’ ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier,’ ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and presumably hopefully Edgar Wright’s ‘Ant-Man.’

The third installment in the ‘Iron Man’ series, which has earned over $1.2 billion worldwide, returns Robert Downey Jr as the iconic Super Hero character Tony Stark/Iron Man, along with Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Don Cheadle as James “Rhodey” Rhodes, and Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan. The likes of Ben Kingsley, Rebecca Hall, James Badge Dale, Guy Pearce and William Sadler join the Marvel universe in ‘Iron Man 3′ as The Mandarin, Maya Hansen, Eric Savin, Aldrich Killian and Sal Kennedy, respectively. ‘Iron Man 3’ arrives in cinemas May 3th, 2013. Next up on Marvel’s schedule are ’Thor: The Dark World,’ which is set to be released November 8th, 2013, and ’Captain America: The Winter Soldier,’ which is pegged for a April 4th, 2014 release date. The Captain America sequel will pick-up where Marvel’s ‘The Avengers’ left off, as Steve Rogers continues his affiliation with Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D and struggles to embrace his role in the modern world. In ‘Thor: The Dark World,’ the likes of Chris Hemsworth, Idris Elba, Ray Stevenson, Jaimie Alexander, Tadanobu Asano, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston and Natalie Portman will reprise their roles from the first film, while Zack Levi is confirmed to play Fandril. Alan Taylor, an accomplished TV director whose credits include ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Boardwalk Empire,’ ‘Mad Men,’ and ‘The Sopranos,’ takes over directorial duties from Kenneth Branagh, who helmed the first ‘Thor’ film. ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ has been scheduled for a August 1st, 2014 release date, the team for that film will include Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Groot, Rocket Racoon and Gamorra.

Continuing the epic big-screen adventures started in ‘Iron Man,’ ‘The Incredible Hulk,’ ‘Iron Man 2,’ ‘Thor,’ and ‘Captain America: The First Avenger,’ the global box office for ‘The Avengers’ has obliterated the totals of those individual films. The totals for those preceding Marvel films are: ‘Iron Man’ with $585.1 million worldwide, ‘The Incredible Hulk’ with $263.4 million worldwide, ’Iron Man 2′ with $623.9 million worldwide, ’Thor’ with $449.3 million worldwide, and finally ‘Captain America’ with $368.6 million worldwide. ‘The Avengers’ (‘Avengers Assemble’ in the UK) stars Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye/Clint Barton), Robert Downey Jr (Iron Man/Tony Stark), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow), Chris Evans (Captain America/Steve Rogers), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/Hulk), and Tom Hiddleston (Loki). The likes of Cobie Smulders, Clark Gregg, and Stellen Skarsgard co-star.  ’The Avengers’ is available as a 2D Blu-ray Combo Pack, a 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack and on DVD from September 17th in the UK and September 25th in the US. The “Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One – Avengers Assembled” collector’s set arrives in the US on September 25th, while it currently has no UK release date. The nearest thing to it on these shores is the Blu-ray “Marvel’s The Avengers – 6-Disc Box Set”, which lands on September 17th. The synopsis and production notes for Marvel’s ‘The Avengers’ can be read below.

Continuing the epic big-screen adventures started in “Iron Man,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Iron Man 2,” “Thor,” and “Captain America: The First Avenger,” “Marvel’s The Avengers” is the super hero team up of a lifetime. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. 

Based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series, first published in 1963, “Marvel’s The Avengers” brings together the mightiest super hero characters as they all assemble together on screen for the first time. The star studded cast of super heroes will be joined by Cobie Smulders (“How I Met Your Mother) as Agent Maria Hill of S.H.I.E.L.D., as well as Tom Hiddleston (“Wallander”) and Stellan Skarsgård (“Angels & Demons,” “Mamma Mia!”) who will both reprise their respective roles as Loki and Professor Erik Selvig from the upcoming Marvel Studios’ feature “Thor.”

“Marvel’s The Avengers” is being produced by Marvel Studios’ President, Kevin Feige, and executive produced by Alan Fine, Stan Lee, Louis D’Esposito, Patty Whitcher, and Jon Favreau. Marvel Studios’ Jeremy Latcham and Victoria Alonso will co-produce.

The creative production team also includes Oscar nominated director of photography Seamus McGarvey (“Atonement”), production designer James Chinlund (“25th Hour”), Oscar winning costume designer Alexandra Byrne (“Elizabeth: The Golden Age”), Oscar winning visual effects supervisor Janek Sirrs (“Iron Man 2,” “The Matrix”), visual effects producer Susan Pickett (“Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2″), stunt coordinator R.A. Rondell (“Superman Returns”), and four-time Oscar nominated special effects supervisor Dan Sudick (“Iron Man,” “War of the Worlds”). The editors include Oscar nominated Paul Rubell (“Collateral”) and Jeffrey Ford (“Crazy Heart”).