LOS ANGELES (AP) -- "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 (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth). The film has taken in nearly $1.5 billion worldwide.