LOS ANGELES -- The Avengers are returning for a superhero sequel three years from now.
Disney and its Marvel Studios unit announced Thursday that the follow-up to this year's biggest hit will arrive in theaters on May 1, 2015.
The studio announced last week that Joss Whedon will be back to write and direct the as-yet-untitled sequel.
Released in May, The Avengers gathered such Marvel comic-book heroes as Iron Man (Downey), Captain America (Chris Evans), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and Thor (Chris Hemsworth).
The film has taken in nearly $1.5 billion worldwide.