Avengers Dissasembled? Stars At Odds Over Contracts

By Mike Andronico , Updated May 10, 2013 04:03 PM EDT

The silver-screen version of Marvel's "The Avengers" became one of the strongest squads of cinematic superheroes last year, according to the box office, critics, and legions of dedicated fans. Aside from the over-the-top action, the film was universally loved by the on-screen chemistry between actors such as Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Chris Evans (Captain America), and Mark Ruffalo (Hulk).

What would happen to the franchise if some of these actors suddenly vanished? With news recently breaking on the Avengers' contract issues, there is a chance that the likes of Thor, Black Widow, and more may not return for future films.

While Downey Jr. recently received a huge payday for last weekend's chart-busting "Iron Man 3," he is looking for even more pay for upcoming Marvel movies. According to Deadline, he's not the only one. Stars such as Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow) and Chris Hemsworth (Thor) were reportedly paid much lower than the standard for their types of roles. 

FirstShowing.net reports that Downey Jr. is acting as a captain looking out for his co-stars, much like he leads the Avengers team in the film. "Avengers" stars such as Evans, Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) and Mark Ruffalo (Hulk) are all expecting around $5 million for The Avengers 2, and Downey Jr. is using himself as leverage. While Marvel has no problem recasting characters (Ruffalo is the second Hulk in 3 years), they might have an issue marketing their movies without Downey Jr., who has become the undeniable face of Iron Man.

"He's the only guy with real power in this situation. and balls of steel, too," said a rep of the "Iron Man" mega-star.

Marvel's "The Avengers 2" is slated to hit theatres in May 2015, while upcoming films such as Hemsworth's "Thor: The Dark World" and Evans' "Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier" will help ramp up momentum for the second team-up film. Fans certainly won't be happy seeing their favorite on-screen super-squad dismantled, and many diehards likely have their fingers crossed for an amicable contract situation that keeps all heroes on the battlefield. 

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