After the box office success of [Guardians of the Galaxy](movie:424073), audiences are now demanding that Marvel introduce more new characters into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Coming up in Phase Three, we have [Ant-Man](movie:9048) [Doctor Strange](movie:559685) on deck. With five open release dates coming up, could Captain Marvel (AKA Ms. Marvel) and Black Panther fit into these untitled Marvel project slots? And if so, these could be the most important Marvel movies since Iron Man, The Avengers, and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Recently, producer Kevin Feige stated that a Captain Marvel and a Black Panther movie are in development at Marvel Studios. While he didn't confirm that the movies are, in fact, part of Phase Three, this got me thinking about all the possibilities of adding Captain Marvel and Black Panther to The Avengers roster and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Feige admitted about the Marvel characters...
“They’re both characters that we like, that development work has been done on and continues to be done on and certainly the public… it’s a question I get asked more than anything else. More than Iron Man 4. More than The Avengers 3. And that’s sort of the fist time that’s really happened to us so I think that makes a difference. I think that’s something we have to pay attention to.”
While this doesn't necessarily mean that Captain Marvel and [Black Panther](movie:9047) will join Phase Three, at this point in Marvel success over the worldwide box office and the general public, the coming book movie studio could afford to take more risks, even if these movies might be flops - which I don't think they would be, after the success of Guardians of the Galaxy. Both Captain Marvel and Black Panther are great characters and are overall important to The Avengers, but they also would cater to an underappreciated movie-going audience and minorities, women and African-Americans.
Yes, Captain Marvel is a woman and Black Panther is, indeed, a black man. These are two demographics that are completely underserved in Hollywood, while at the same time have proven that movies that play to these demographics are moneymaking feature films. There's an audience out there and if Marvel features a woman and black man in a starring role, then these movies could easily progress the superhero genre into the wider movie-going public. In fact, with reports that Marvel might do away with origin movies, telling a Black Panther story without an origin story is ideal. He's the king of Wakanda, the fictional African country whose prime resource is Vibranium, the metal alloy that makes up most of Captain America's shield. Ms. Marvel, on the other hand, would need some basis for how Carol Danvers (if Marvel wants to go this route) becomes the new Captain Marvel, after she was in a skirmish with the Kree Empire, an alien race already introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Marvel seems to be more progressive when it comes to social and lifestyle issues, so it stands to reason that they would be the first movie studio to highlight a female and/or black superhero. The general public want more Marvel movies and if done correctly, Captain Marvel and Black Panther could be wonderful additions and big moneymakers for the comic book movie studio. I think the 2013 success of Disney's Frozen, The Hunger Games, The Butler, and 42 all show that there's definitely an audience for Ms. Marvel and Black Panther out there, especially with the Marvel name attached and the Disney marketing machine pumping out trailers and commercials.
While Sony and DC/Warner Bros. might have a jump on the female superhero market with a rumored untitled female-led movie that takes place in the Spider-Man universe and Wonder Woman in the works, Marvel might have a better and smarter hit with Captain Marvel on their hands. The same thing could be said for Black Panther. While The Falcon stole the show in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, trust me when I say, that's nothing compared to a possible Black Panther movie.
Audiences are ready for diversity in movies and the superhero genre needs to mature, despite a vocal and fool hearted online backlash against a female Thor and a black Captain America. Overall, at this point, I think audiences are hungry for anything from Marvel Studios, which makes this the perfect time to introduce Captain Marvel and Black Panther into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and to address the lack diversity in the superhero genre.