Marvel Studios have released thirteen movies to date, four of which grossed more than a billion dollars worldwide at the box office. Even those that didn't quite reach that mark were extremely successful, leading many to wonder what Marvel's secret could be.
The characters themselves obviously play a huge factor in the company's success; Iron Man and Captain America have become household names, pulling in huge numbers that sell a ridiculous amount of merchandise for the company. However, superhero movies are still known to fail, despite featuring iconic characters, so how are Marvel avoiding this pitfall?
Marvel made a smart decision early on to approach exciting filmmakers who put their own unique stamp on each one of their films. The likes of Joss Whedon, Jon Favreau and James Gunn were instrumental in building this cinematic universe, but now that Marvel have scheduled plenty more films for release in Phase 4, it's time for some fresh new filmmakers to put their spin on a Marvel film, ensuring that the company's legacy continues to flourish into the distant future.
Edgar Wright has already had his chance, so here are five other legendary filmmakers who should be working within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
1. Quentin Tarantino
Dream project: Thunderbolts
Longtime comic book fan Quentin Tarantino began developing a Luke Cage movie at one stage, but unfortunately, the project never came to light. While we're sure that Tarantino could have made an incredible adaptation starring the Hero For Hire, Luke Cage now has a home on Netflix, freeing Tarantino up for another comic book project that could be even more suitable for the legendary filmmaker.
From Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction to the The Hateful Eight, Tarantino has made a name for himself by crafting dark, mature ensemble pieces, making him the perfect choice to helm a Thunderbolts movie.
The original Thunderbolts comic starred a number of Marvel's biggest villains who took on the guise of heroes and tricked the public into accepting them. If you gave Tarantino the freedom of a R rating and rights to the script, we could be looking at a superhero movie so controversial that it would even make Deadpool blush.
2. Luc Besson
Dream project: Black Widow
It's depressing to consider how long it's taken Marvel to even suggest that a Black Widow movie could be developed, but with Kevin Feige's confirmation that she'll now star in a solo venture, it's time to start thinking about who could bring Natasha Romanoff's past to life on the big screen.
Luc Besson may have had some misses over the years, but films like The Fifth Element and The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec demonstrate the French filmmaker's incredible knack for drawing powerful performances out of his female protagonists.
Scarlett Johansson recently worked with Besson on the surprisingly successful sci-fi/action flick Lucy, making another collaboration between the two an absolute no-brainer in both creative and financial terms.
3. Darren Aronofsky
Dream project: Elektra
The dream of seeing Darren Aronofksy work his magic on a superhero film has almost become a reality more than once; both Wolverine and Batman were given to the offbeat filmmaker over the years, but neither project ever came to fruition.
Some of Aronofsky's most popular films, including Black Swan, Requiem for A Dream and even The Wrestler all dealt with fascinating characters whose internal struggle with their own morality threatened to break their grip on reality.
Now that Daredevil Season Three has been pushed back due to the release of The Defenders, now would be the perfect time to catapult the character of Elektra onto the big screen, diversifying Marvel's output with another female hero, one whose questionable ethics would be the ideal fit for an artistic filmmaker like Aronofsky.
4. David Fincher
Dream project: Moon Knight
David Fincher is responsible for some of the most disturbing thrillers of the 21st century, including films such as Seven, Zodiac and Gone Girl, yet he's never worked on a superhero movie, narrowly missing the chance to direct the original Spider-Man back in 2002.
The acclaimed filmmaker has since stated that superhero movies are boring, but we wonder whether he could be convinced to change his mind with the right character.
Moon Knight isn't particularly well-known outside of comic book circles, but Marvel's answer to the Dark Knight is a fan favorite whose fractured psyche could be developed into a fascinating character study on the big screen. Think Bruce Wayne with multiple personalities and you'd be on the right path.
5. George Miller
Dream project: Inhumans
After the likes of Babe and Happy Feet, it seemed that the Mad Max director had forgotten his action film roots, but with the release of Mad Max: Fury Road, George Miller regained his legendary status, crafting one of the best blockbuster films produced this decade.
Like most of the directors on this list, Miller has flirted with the idea of helming a superhero movie before, most notably with a Justice League film for DC, but the project failed to materialise thanks to legal issues which left the entire future of the DCEU on the backburner before Zack Snyder eventually took over.
While Miller's Justice League is certainly an intriguing proposition, his work on the post-apocalyptic wasteland of Mad Max seems like a far better fit for the world of the Inhumans, a strange offshoot of humanity who hide their special abilities by living on the moon. Marvel have pushed Inhumans to the side for now, but attaching a big name like Miller to the project would revitalise the film in a heartbeat.