Posted by Jack Carr @jackc
You are the Princess Shireen of the House Baratheon, and you are my daughter.
Jack Carr

What will you be doing ten years from now? Chances are you haven't planned that far ahead, but Disney knows exactly what it will be doing: Making insane dollar from Marvel movies. This week, Disney CEO Robert Iger spoke at a posh conference for rich people about the future of the studio, and according to The Wrap, the man whose surname rhymes with tiger said this:

“We had a similar meeting with Marvel a week-and-a-half ago to plot [our future films] out, where we’ve got movies in either development or production — some nearing completion — through the end of this decade. [We're also] beginning to talk about what do we do the next decade, and so on?”

In an interview with The Independent last month, Civil War co-director Anthony Russo described Avengers: Infinity War and its sequel as "a culmination of everything that's happened in the MCU. They're going to be the end of some things and the beginnings of certain things."

Is it over for Nick Fury's good guys? (Marvel)
Is it over for Nick Fury's good guys? (Marvel)

Essentially, that plays to the idea that Infinity War acts as a huge turning point for the Marvel Cinematic Universe — the natural end point for the Avengers as we know them, and an opportunity to create something entirely new in the following decade. It's exciting, but for a universe built on making safe moves, it's also a leap into the unknown. What's next? And whatever it is, can it capture the public's hearts in the way that Captain America and Iron Man did so effortlessly?

Let's take a look at five heroes, villains and superhero team-ups who could become the glue of the new-look MCU in a post-Infinity War world.

Blade

Blade, the vampire slayer with a strain of vampirism in his own blood, feels like the most obvious choice for Marvel to bring to the MCU. Not only is he already famous among non-geek audiences, thanks to Wesley Snipes' brooding, uber-stylish portrayal of the character in the Blade trilogy, he practically bleeds charisma. We're talking about a man raised in a brothel who has a lifelong enemy in Dracula and zero qualms about killing.

This man is cooler than you. (Marvel Comics)
This man is cooler than you. (Marvel Comics)

In the comics, Blade is a frequent ally of Doctor Strange (they once teamed up to wipe out all known vampirism on Earth), and perhaps most importantly, he's never been a black stereotype. Where Luke Cage was specifically created to give Marvel Comics a black hero, Blade isn't defined by the color of his skin. He simply exists to slay.

What it ultimately boils down to is the indisputable fact that Blade is one of the best characters ever to grace the pages of Marvel Comics. It's time the MCU took a bloodthirsty, headfirst dive into realm of the immortal undead.

New Avengers

Back in 2005, Marvel wanted a superhero team who weren't the Avengers but still had some name recognition, so they threw Luke Cage, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Veranke (posing as Spider-Woman) and Captain America (Bucky Barnes) into a melting pot together and called them — yep — the New Avengers. Hey, the logic is solid. The team assembles to track down the supervillains who escaped The Raft, Marvel's high-security island prison which totally isn't Azkaban, when Electro shut the power off.

New Avengers: No more Mr. Nice Guys. (Marvel Comics)
New Avengers: No more Mr. Nice Guys. (Marvel Comics)

With another Avengers team operating under official government sanction, the New Avengers operate on a more clandestine basis, which would fit with where the MCU is headed post-Civil War, heroes having been vilified and turned into fugitives. The line-up could use a few alterations, though — swap Iron Man out for Jessica Jones (otherwise the new Avengers aren't really new at all), and then we're in business.

Spider-Gwen

Civil War introduced the youngest-ever screen Spidey to the MCU, so it's fair to assume Peter Parker is going to be kicking around for a long time. If that's the case, both Gwen Stacy and Mary-Jane should have a role to play in this universe. While MJ has always been the one destined for Peter, Gwen's combination of spider tech, created by Janet Van Dyne, and detective skills, learned from her police captain father, make her an intriguing and fairly unique proposition. That said, she might work better as a foil for Peter Parker in a future Spider-Man movie than as a headline hero.

Thunderbolts

If the enormous hype around Suicide Squad and its subsequent big box office haul (even in the face of a critical mauling) taught Marvel anything, it's that not everybody appreciates their superheroes squeaky-clean. The Thunderbolts are not that far removed from Amanda Waller's Suicide Squad — a group of villains and anti-heroes come together to seek redemption for past sins.

Do not f*ck with. (Marvel Comics)
Do not f*ck with. (Marvel Comics)

The line-up (as of 2014) is pure gold: Punisher, Elektra, Venom, Red Hulk and Deadpool. Obviously, the first two characters already exist in Marvel's TV universe, and Deadpool is off the cards, so whether the MCU could actually assemble a team that had any real Thunderbolt DNA is debatable. But they should. Together, these morally-dubious vigilantes, mercenaries and assassins possess far more edge than the Avengers.

Is Marvel willing to risk plunging into sunny universe into darkness?

Captain America (Bucky Barnes)

Like DC has Batman, Marvel needs one hero whose continued presence is comfort to those who take the view that good guys with capes or shields are necessary to maintain the equilibrium in a world where a supervillain could emerge from the shadows to destroy a city in a matter of minutes. Captain America is that man.

In one form or another, Cap is here to stay. (Marvel)
In one form or another, Cap is here to stay. (Marvel)

If it's true that you die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain, it seems that Steve Rogers may be remembered as the latter, forced into exile by Thaddeus Ross and the unnecessary ideological divides of Civil War that drove Cap, Bucky and co. underground. If I were a betting man, I'd say there's a strong chance Steve Rogers will sacrifice his life in Infinity War (or its sequel), and be remembered as a hero — right in time for Bucky Barnes to pick up the shield and take over as America's national treasure. There's life in this war hero yet.

Doctor Strange hits theaters November 4.

Which Marvel heroes or teams do you think will become the new faces of the MCU?

(Source: TheWrap.com)