WHO's NEXT?1 of 12Marvel Studios is well into the third phase of its Cinematic Universe, and the end of this chapter in sight with 2018's Avengers: Infinity War, it's time to start looking to the future. And for that, we've got some ideas.
Sure, some of these are out of the box, but we'd wager any of them would make a compelling movie (and if you don't believe us, bear in mind that the last time we ran a list like this, we predicted several less obvious properties that are now in development).
MARVEL/MIRACLEMAN2 of 12Let’s face it, Marvel is a multi-media entertainment company in the truest sense of the word now. Yes, no doubt the comic book division still operates with a certain amount of autonomy and we’re not suggesting everything is developed as a comic book with eyes toward a feature film, live-action, or animated TV series in mind.
But Marvel has spent a looonnggg-time and undoubtedly some considerable legal fees to apparently finally iron out the rights issues surrounding Marvelman. So the question becomes, did they go through all that strictly for the comic book publishing rights?
Maybe. But could there be a bigger play here?
The Marvel Universe doesn’t really have a Superman archetype among its core stable of characters (though Hyperion, a direct Superman analogue, has appeared in Avengers and Squadron Supreme, and even briefly held a solo title in recent years), and no doubt Marvel Studios is probably feeling pretty good about what they could turn out if they had one.
Marvel/Miracleman has an interesting enough back-story to fuel free press were Marvelman developed into a big screen property and Neil Gaiman potentially being in the mix offers some intriguing possibilities as well.
A long-shot yes, but something to keep an eye on.
MS. MARVEL3 of 12Sticking with Marvel namesakes...
With Captain Marvel on the way for a March 2019 release, what better time than early 2020 to show her immediate impact on the world? With the Inhumans introduced, a new young Inhuman named Kamala Khan in Jersey City, inspired by the cosmic Avenger, takes up a similar mantle and costume, calling herself Ms. Marvel and giving super heroics a shot.
Now that Spider-Man is back under the Marvel umbrella, Kamala's place as the MCU's likely Peter Parker type isn't as strong a foothold, but her youth and energy are still something special. The fact that she’s a non-Christian woman of color really doesn’t hurt things, either, giving a three-pronged booster shot of diversity into the MCU.
Tie: MR. IMMORTAL OR MOON GIRL4 of 12Yeah, we could've went with safe bets like retreads of Ghost Rider or Blade, but given 2020 is so far in the future, we're going balls-to-the-wall with some out-of-the-box suggestions.
We’ve often said the MCU needs some youth. And sure, now it’s got Spider-Man crawling up the walls, but let’s go even younger – how about Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur?
It might be the weirdest concept Marvel would put to film, but what’s not to love about the story of an 8 year old super genius and her pet dinosaur? Bonus points if they can get a cameo from Robert Downey, Jr.’s Tony Stark. Quite frankly we’d pay full ticket price just to see him argue with a little girl about quantum physics for a couple hours.
As for Mr. Immortal, if you’re not thinking “who?” right now you’re probably thinking “oh, c’mon,” but the Great Lake Avenger has one of the more interesting powers in comic books – he can’t be killed. No matter what happens to him, he wakes up okay.
This power set not only offers unique opportunities for hard PG-13 action sequences, but fleshed out Mr. I could become one of the more unique personalities with one of the most unique worldviews in all of the Marvel catalog.
Yeah, Okay, maybe Marvel Comics should actually let the guy star in his own solo series before making him a feature film star, but they have plenty of years to do that and plenty of candidates willing to help them do it [raises hand].
KILLRAVEN5 of 12Oh right, like Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man were obvious, likely choices?
This one would need some liberal adaptation of its comic book roots, however. Just think ‘gladiators and descendants of superheroes in a post-apocalyptic Marvel Universe.‘ Think 300 meets The Avengers meets any post-apocalyptic film ever, really.
And the apocalypse could be from any number of events – aliens, robots, or how about zombies? The Marvel Cinematic Universe decades afterMarvel Zombies.
Sign us up.
(And don't forget, Marvel has unpublished comic book series by Robert "The Walking Dead" Kirkman and Robert "Deadpool" Liefeld they chould pick from, even if just for the name value alone.)
SPIDER-WOMAN6 of 12With Spider-Man now slated to be added to the MCU, some of the impetus for making a Spider-Woman movie is gone; however, it may actually be easier than ever for Marvel to bring Jessica Drew to the big screen.
Spider-Woman has never really been part of the Spider-family of titles - she has much stronger ties to S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers - making her an already natural fit.
Of course, there's the question of how an adult Spider-Woman fits in a world with a teenage Spider-Man, but they don't even necessarily need a connection - they've rarely shared one in comic books.
BLACK WIDOW7 of 12C'mon, seriously? Do we need to explain why Marvel should make this movie?
Scarlett Johansson is one of the biggest movie stars in the world - and her Black Widow is one of the biggest fan favorite characters of the Avengers franchise. The only thing more criminal than Natasha's espionage record is Marvel's always-a-bridesmaid treatment of the character.
And Johansson's got the desire for the film - Marvel's hesitation has led her to take the lead role in 2017's Ghost in the Shell as a leather-clad special-ops asskicker. Sound familiar?
Take that as a lesson, Marvel. Don't let this one slip away.
THUNDERBOLTS8 of 12The ultimate answer to the ongoing critique of Marvel's one-note movie villains is simple - make a movie that's all villains.
In a way, Thunderbolts would be Marvel's answer to Suicide Squad (not that they necessarily need one) but with a twist - these bad guys actually would try to take over the world, even while they're saving it.
With Captain America: Civil War having put the pieces in place - and we're not just talking Baron Zemo; you can read our theory right here - and Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn previously expressing interest in directing, you know Thunderbolts is already on Marvel's radar.
And even though Gunn likely wouldn't direct a Thunderbolts film at this point, he could sign on as a producer, a laIron Man director Jon Favreau on subsequent Marvel movies.
POWER PACK9 of 12And speaking of mining demos, let’s not forget with whom Disney’s bread and butter still lies.
Kids like watching kids on the screen (notice how few Disney Channel and Nick Jr. hits feature adults in the lead role?) With the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s appeal among families/younger audiences on the upswing after Avengers, wouldn’t a team of superhero kids set firmly in the MCU and even more firmly in the pure-PG category be a good bet for the movie studio that both defined and is defined by family entertainment?
Even a high-end CGI-animated treatment could give Disney a cousin to Pixar’s The Incredibles and Big Hero 6. The possibilities here are endless.
NOVA10 of 12Out of the ashes of and the destruction of the Nova Corps in Guardians of the Galaxy, the Nova Prime decides it’s time to try a new way of harnessing the Nova Force - through individuals, with the power coursing through their very veins.
Now, many fans would next say, “Okay, but it has to be Richard Rider!” Not so fast. We’d actually make the case for Sam Alexander. He’s made many inroads in other media the last couple of years, from animation to video games, so it’d be hard not to use him now.
Sam would give Marvel another MCU “Peter Parker” option, and someone else to spin either into or out of a New Warriors film, too. Sam, being not just well-known, but inexperienced, gives viewers something new, a kid with the powers of the very universe at his control.
Why a human? Well, after the Infinity War, we have a feeling the whole universe will know all about the power of the human race.
THE HULK11 of 12It wasn’t using Loki as a rag-doll and the “Puny God” line that signaled Marvel had finally gotten the Hulk right. It was a few minutes prior, when having crashed though Grand Central Terminal with Thor, the Hulk sucker-punched his ‘teammate’ in the side of head, with a nonchalant, but self-satisfied “hrrmmffff."
That's the Hulk people would go to a solo movie to see. The tortured soul trying desperately to not be the Hulk for 2 and 1/2 movies was a war of attrition for audiences. They wanted to see the Hulk 'smash,' Bruce Banner didn’t, and the conflict between those dueling purposes caused the films to sputter.
Age of Ultron took a step back in terms of the Hulk being Banner's curse, but we're taking the long view here.
A Hulk let loose of his iconic but actually historically short-lived 'hunted-wounded animal' persona and allowed to heroically beat the tar out of the right foes (monsters, demons, aliens, machines) with just enough intellect to do it all with a self-aware hint of humor is the Hulk moviegoers would flock to the multiplexes to see.
Who can’t relate to rage these days?
The Hulk was the star of the third act of one of the most successful movies of the modern cinematic era. While it might seem risky to try for a third time after two unsuccessful attempts, the audience reaction to the Hulk in The Avengers should provide enough evidence a third time will be the charm.
Fortunately, he's being billed as the secondary star of Thor: Ragnarok, which is reportedly a buddy style adventure movie between Thor and Hulk, but c'mon - we want to see him get his due.
We do like the Hulk when he’s angry, is the point, and by the time 2020 rolls around, it'll be time to give him another go.
If doing an official "Hulk" movie is hard to do with the rights issue, why not do it as Monsters Unleashed and star Marvel's most famous monster?
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