With 'Avengers 2' over seven months away, it seems a little premature to already be talking about 'Avengers 3' rumors, but this rumor is too big and too crazy to ignore. A recent report claims that Marvel - following in the footsteps of 'The Hobbit' and 'The Hunger Games' - is looking to split 'Avengers 3' into two films that would be released in back-to-back years.

The Daily Marvelite claims that wrapping up the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe in one movie would be just too much for Marvel, and that they're currently planning on splitting the final 'Avengers' story into two parts. These movies would be released on May 4, 2018 and May 3, 2019; dates previously reserved by Marvel for "untitled" films.

It all sounds well and good, and very much something that could happen. Until you remember that Robert Downey, Jr. and Chris Evans' contracts are only good through 'Avengers 3'. Ah, but they're just splitting 'Avengers 3' into two movies, you say. Yes, but it's not that easy.

As Badass Digest points out, the Screen Actors Guild contracts include language that say essentially "you can't just use all their extra footage to make another movie without paying them for another movie." So, for example, the cast of 'Kill Bill' had to renegotiate with Miramax once Quentin Tarantino and Harvey Weinstein decided to split the movie into two parts. If Marvel really wanted to split 'Avengers 3' into two movies, they would have to re-open negotiations with both Downey and Evans. (And, we're not even getting into Joss Whedon, whose exhaustion from directing just one 'Avengers' sequel has led many to speculate that he might not even return for a regular-sized 'Avengers 3' let alone one that could be split into two films.)

Downey recently renegotiated with Marvel for both 'Avengers 2' and 'Avengers 3' (which were not part of his original contract) and details of those deals were not disclosed, but the actor told GQ last year that he made over $50 million on the first 'Avengers' so you can only imagine how much he's making for the two sequels. Marvel could renegotiate again, but that could get very expensive. (And, Evans has shown an interest in leaving the world of superheroes behind, so he too, could be difficult to convince to return.)

Now, we're not saying it couldn't happen. Warner Bros. recently worked out new deals with the cast of 'The Hobbit' when they decided to go from two movies to three. But, with all due respect to the cast of 'The Hobbit,' they don't have nearly the negotiating power as Robert Downey, Jr. has with Marvel. 'Avengers 3' could certainly be split into two movies, but it's going to cost them.

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