My 6 Ideas for the Future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Civil War was awesome. Doctor Strange is going to be great. We’ve got two more Avengers movies on the horizon. And Ant-Man already has a sequel lined up! The immediate future is bright with Marvel movies, and I couldn’t be happier! Some people have complaints, some worry about superhero fatigue, but I am not those people. I have loved every single one of Marvel Studios’ films, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.
As well as what comes after that!
It is theoretically possible that, some day, the Marvel Movie Machine will come to an end. Maybe superhero movies will fall out of favor. Maybe they’ll finally make a dud. Who knows? Who can tell? I don’t ever want it to happen. I’ll be seeing each and every film they put out. But the future is a far away and malleable thing, so how about some blind, fan-driven speculation?
Join me after the jump for my thoughts on the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe!
6. Don’t recast or reboot, simply re-align
Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige said in an interview recently that he isn’t worried yet about having to recast all the major roles. Contracts are still in place, new characters are arriving, and the future is a long ways away. That’s fine. But in my opinion, Marvel should not recast the likes of Iron Man or Captain America. Nor should they reboot their entire universe and start again from the beginning. Way, way too much has happened to do a reboot and start fresh.
Instead, I think Marvel should just refocus the Cinematic Universe away from Iron Man and towards new and upcoming characters, or at least actors willing to stick around. Both Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth seem game to keep going as Captain America and Thor. You’ve got Captain Marvel, Black Panther and Doctor Strange coming up. I doubt any of them is going to be as electrifying as Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, but time, age and contracts come for us all. Put Downey out to pasture when the time is right, and have him on hand for cameos.
There are more than enough Marvel characters already on the slate or waiting in the wings to just keep the Cinematic Universe going. Marvel should not use time travel or alternate realities to de-age the popular characters or any of that nonsense. Just use the awesomeness of their own movie-making to make new characters and actors into the stars.
5. Focus on Spider-Man
This is about as no-brainer as they come, but it’s still a solid idea. If you follow my first suggestion and simply pivot the Marvel Cinematic Universe away from the aging Tony Stark, then Peter Parker is your ideal choice. Actor Tom Holland is young and perfectly cast. Let’s watch Peter Parker grow for a few movies. Let’s see him mature and take on bigger threats, let’s see him fall in love and face tragedy, let’s see the Avengers from the perspective of their new, young member. Marvel can’t exactly just recreate plots or characters from the first five Spider-Man movies, but the Marvel Universe could re-use some villains. A new Doctor Octopus is a must. A new Venom would be a blast. The Sinister Six are still waiting in the wings to get made.
I guess this would depend on how well the world receives Spider-Man: Homecoming. Every Spider-Man movie so far has made less money than the film before it. Could that trend continue next year? Will audiences care that Marvel has control of Spider-Man now? Will they reverse the downward trend of the Amazing movies? I know I loved Tom Holland’s performance, but can the greatness of Marvel overcome the audience fatigue with Spider-Man?
Time will tell, and if it works out, Marvel could have their post-Downey star.
4. Fantastic Four for Phase 4
We’re currently in Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and that’s set to stretch out until at least 2020, with Captain Marvel and Infinity War movies near the end. I have no doubt that Marvel already has their Phase 4 plans sketched out, but four to five years is a very long time, and anything could change — like, say, Marvel getting the rights back to the Fantastic Four. After the turd of a reboot by FOX last Summer, one can really hope that FOX eventually makes the right call and sends the rights back to Marvel. They’re going to hold on to the X-Men indefinitely, but surely they aren’t hoping to reboot the Fantastic Four for a third time in the next couple of years? Surely they’re not that insane!
Granted, I fully believe that studio executives are exactly that insane. So it wouldn’t surprise me if FOX does try to reboot the Fantastic Four again. But I am nothing if not hopeful, and I would love to see the Fantastic Four arrive at Marvel in time for Phase 4.
If Spider-Man’s arrival in Civil War is any indication, then Marvel must be sitting on a pitch perfect adaptation of the Fantastic Four. You just know somebody at the studio already has this planned out. I’m hoping for an older, wiser Fantastic Four, and not a team of young, hip scientists. I want Reed Richards to be an elder statesman, a contemporary of Tony Stark, not Peter Parker. And the rest of the team can pan out accordingly. I’d even be open to the Future Foundation. The whole Fantastic Four canon would make another solid cornerstone for Phase 4.
3. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. needs more Secret Warriors
It was recently reported that the Inhumans movie has been scrubbed. I don’t know why, and I don’t particularly care, because that was the only Marvel movie I wasn’t particularly looking forward to. But the Inhumans are alive and well on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and I think that’s a good place for them. The show pivoted well from being a spy drama to a more action-focused show with the inclusion of the Inhumans. I especially enjoyed the creation of the Secret Warriors in the current season, where Daisy Johnson gathers a team of Inhumans and turns them into her own superhero squad.
But here’s the thing: THEY ONLY GOT ONE EPISODE!
The Secret Warriors were teased at the end of last season, and several episodes of the current season have been about building and gathering the team. But when it finally came time to put them in the field, they had one single episode, and by the end of that episode, the team had fractured. They’ve since split up and aren’t working together anymore, while S.H.I.E.L.D. deals with the season’s big bad. And that’s garbage. It was a great episode, and the team was really cool together. They’ve got fun characters, a fun concept and it would be a great new focus for the show.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has never been ‘must see TV’, but it’s always been somewhat enjoyable. Now that it’s several seasons deep, I think it should go all-in with this superhero squad and bring the real excitement! Maybe throw in some more pre-existing Marvel characters for the fun of it.
Or, even better, focus on your original characters, like Joey.
Here is a brand new gay character introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They didn’t have to retcon any existing comic heroes to be gay. They created a brand new gay character and made him awesome and interesting and likeable. Then they went and barely used him all season! Instead we’ve got the hum-drum Lincoln and his warmed over romance with Daisy. Screw that! Make Joey our lead Inhuman!
2. Recreate that big superhero brawl, but with villains
That big superhero brawl at the abandoned airport in Civil War was, without a doubt, one of the greatest moments ever committed to superhero film. A dozen characters, wild and awesome super-powers, great banter, big action; it was everything we could possibly want in a comic book tussle — except for super-villains. The biggest superhero battle in movies so far, and it was superhero against superhero. Before that, all the big brawls involved the Avengers taking on armies of nameless henchmen, whether they were alien or robot. That was fine, but we want more!
There are lots of options for big brawls. You’ve got the Masters of Evil or the Wrecking Crew right off the bat. I want to see villains in their own awesome costumes, like an evil squad of Avengers. I want them to be up to no good, and I want the Avengers to get in there and kick some butt! We all know that Thanos is going to be the big bad coming up, but Marvel people have already said that Infinity War Parts 1 and 2 are not necessarily connected, they’re not a ‘to be continued’. So there is plenty of room to get a super-villain team in there. Build them up, send them out to commit evil, and then have the Avengers go to town in an epic brawl!
1. Never, ever introduce the X-Men
It’s too late for the X-Men to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There, I said it.
Too much of the world has been built at this point. We’ve got the Avengers, we’ve got the Defenders, and we’ve already got the Inhumans covering the world in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. There just isn’t room to add yet another gifted group of super-humans hiding the shadows. They can no longer say that Wolverine has been around all this time without making a difference, or Magneto, or Charles Xavier.
As much as I love the X-Men, there’s just no room for them anymore in the MCU.
And I mean both the FOX-controlled X-Men movie franchise and any sort of original Marvel idea, should they somehow get the movie rights back. I don’t want to see Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine team up with Chris Evans or Robert Downey Jr. I don’t want to see Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool crossover with Tom Holland’s Spider-Man. I don’t want to see the current movie X-Men have anything to do with the current movie Avengers. I don’t want them to be from alternate realities, I don’t want them to be retconned to be from the same reality.
And honestly, at this point, I don’t really want Marvel to get the movie rights back. As bored as I am with the X-Men movie franchise, and despite all the faith I have in Marvel Studios, I don’t want to see them try and shoehorn a new version of the X-Men or mutants into the MCU.
Because the MCU doesn’t need the X-Men. As popular as the X-Men are in the comics, Marvel has redefined Hollywood with their Avengers franchise. They took a chance and it paid off spectacularly, more than anyone could have predicted.
Who needs Wolverine when you’ve got Iron Man?
Those are my thoughts, how about yours? What do you want to see in Phase 4 and beyond? What would you like to see in the next few years? Let me know in the comments!