(USA Today) -- At the end of The Avengers, the members of the crime-fighting team head off in different directions. But they'll certainly be back.
Iron Man 3, Thor 2 and Captain America 2 are all scheduled for the big screen in the next two years. And the speculative hype for additional projects has skyrocketed in light of The Avengers' staggering $200 million opening weekend.
"We're not shy about believing that all our characters have great stories to tell," says Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige.
Iron Man will be the first to return with a solo project as his third installment begins production next month in North Carolina. Robert Downey Jr. and director Shane Black will bring back wise-cracking Tony Stark for a release May 3, 2013.
Chris Hemsworth and Thor 2 will hit theaters Nov. 15, 2013, and Chris Evans will don the Captain America suit for his solo sequel, due April 4, 2014.
Feige believes that the public will accept the super solo efforts even after being introduced to the supergroup.
"In the comics, readers began to understand that there are times that (the characters) all have to come together as The Avengers," Feige says. "And when they are not together, they are back in their own world."
Blogosphere speculation is centering on spinoffs that might involve Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye, Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury and Mark Ruffalo's Hulk.
Though Marvel Studios has been tight-lipped, some spinoff talks have occurred.
"The producers have sort of asked me about it in some drunken nights in our European press tour, where I would like to see a new movie go," Ruffalo says.
The ultimate question facing Marvel: When's the sequel to The Avengers? Feige responded - sort of - at a European press tour:
"Would we like to see a sequel? Of course. Are there stories for a sequel? Of course. But (there's) nothing more to talk about right now."
(Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY)