Many Marvel fans have been waiting for a film continuity just like the one they enjoy in the comics for a long time. The idea is that major story lines overlap into the books of other major characters. This allows for certain heroes to make guest appearances in the stories of other heroes. For folks who dig that sort of epic film making, the coming years are about to get very exciting.

It was 2008’s Iron Man, directed by Jon Favreau (Elf, Cowboys & Aliens) that launched a potentially connected string of Marvel films by introducing actor Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson of S.H.I.E.L.D and his boss, Nick Fury, acted by Samuel L. Jackson. That same year in The Incredible Hulk, Tony Stark made a cameo (although actor Edward Norton will be replaced by Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk in The Avengers). In 2010’s Iron Man 2, it is Fury who finally reveals to Tony Stark that Scarlett Johansson’s character Natasha Romanoff is also working for S.H.I.E.L.D.Then, if you stayed through the end credits of the film, you saw S.H.I.E.L.D. investigating Thor’s hammer. This, my friends, suggests upcoming May 6, 2011 release, Thor, is absolutely related to an over-arching plot.

Favreau has confirmed these exciting designs for future Marvel films, telling MTV, “In theory, ‘Iron Man 3′ is going to be a sequel or continuation of ‘Thor,’ ‘Hulk,’ ‘Captain America’ and ‘Avengers.'” The inter-connectivity will make planning Iron Man 3 a challenge. Favreau will have to watch and see what happens with Thor and Cap first. He has already “talked to [‘Thor’ director] Kenneth Branagh.” He says, “I’ve met the cast members. I had a conversation with [‘Avengers’ director Joss Whedon] in passing, giving him my two cents about the film.” Furthermore, “Honestly, right now ‘Captain America’ and ‘Thor’ are their big priorities, and you learn things by shooting and making movies,. The script is one thing, but when you actually see what you land on at the editing room — especially with Marvel where they film, cut, film some more and shape the film — you really learn as you go.”

1. Iron Man (2008) director Jon Favreau
2. Incredible Hulk (2008) director Louis Leterrier
3. Iron Man 2 (2010) director Jon Favreau
4. Thor (April 27, 2011) Kenneth Branagh
5. Captain America: First Avenger (July 22, 2011) Joe Johnston
6. The Avengers (May 4, 2012) Joss Whedon
7. Iron Man 3 (May 13, 2013) Jon Favreau

Read about Disney’s involvement or click the links above for the latest news on each project.
Also get the latest news on Favreau’s other comic book adaptation now.