WHO's NEXT?1 of 12The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 2 concluded with this summer's Ant-Man, and now Phase 3 and possibly Phase 4 has now grown a bit with the addition of 2018's Ant-Man & The Wasp and three new, unnamed films for 2020.
While no doubt one or two of those new 2020 films will be sequels, we’re betting Marvel Studios will launch at least one new property with one of the three slots.
So let’s take a look at some potential new franchises ripe to be added to the MCU family -- and new corners of the universe(s) as well.
There's some safer bets on this countdown but a few more out-there suggestions we hope you'll entertain.
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, was recently in Avengers and is set to lead the new Squadron Supreme), 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 SQUIRREL 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.
If Groot and Rocket Raccoon were arguably the two most popular new characters introduced in film in 2014, so why shouldn’t Marvel embrace its inner irony and give Squirrel Girl a go? She does have her own ongoing comic book series these days.
So pretty much most of what we said for Ms. Marvel last page … but SQUIRREL f-in GIRL!
As for Mr. Immortal, if you’re not thinking “who?” right now you’re probably thinking “oh, c’mon,” but the former 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 comic book 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.
THE RUNAWAYS7 of 12Disney likes mining genres, they also like mining demos too. Young Adult genre fiction is one of Hollywood hottest categories as the major studios chase the audiences that still actually go to the movies.
The Runaways has often been mentioned as part of Marvel’s shortlist in the past, no doubt due to the teen (i.e. highly-desirable) demo it hits closest to home with. A cast of young, diverse teens, developing superpowers, rebelling against the adult establishment, who just so happens to be their own parents?
If this wasn’t a Marvel property, this would probably already be on Summit Entertainment’s release list. And Brian Vaughan’s now-growing Hollywood cache can’t hurt the odds of this one getting more attention in the coming days.
They almost made it once, before putting it on the backburner to develop the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So the question really isn't if Runaways is ready for a movie, but rather if MCU movies are ready for the Runaways.
NEW WARRIORS8 of 12Look, we thought about the Young Avengers, we really did, but the similarities might be a bit too much for moviegoers to take right off the bat. Rather than feeling like the fresh and exciting characters they are, it’d be too easy to marginalize them as mere clones (not actual clones, metaphorical clones - only in comics do we have to clarify that).
But we digress. When it comes to a young team of heroes with unique backgrounds and a decidedly different take than the Avengers, the New Warriors are perfect candidates. A whole team gives you the opportunity to introduce several characters at once, providing a whole new dimension to the MCU. The team can really enjoy being heroes, and can fight in a unique way, going out proactively, instead of reactively. Throw in a mentor in the form of one of the current Avengers, and you have yourselves not just one new franchise, but potentially several.
Oh, and all those demo things we said about The Runaways - they apply here too.
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.
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.
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