Undoubtedly, by now, you have heard the news about Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We just got the announcement of ten more movies are on their way by Marvel Studios, from [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](movie:293035) in 2015, to 2019. Count 'em. Ten movies. Half of them were continuations of pre-established properties, and the other half were some very highly anticipated new additions.
*July 17, 2015: Ant-Man (duh)
*May 6: Captain America: Civil War
*November 4: Doctor Strange
*May 5: Guardians of the Galaxy 2
July 28: Thor: Ragnarok
November 3: Black Panther
May 4: Avengers: Infinity War, Part 1
July 6: Captain Marvel
November 2: Inhumans
Avengers: Infinity War, Part 2
Still, some folks find room for complaint. They think that perhaps the order of the upcoming movies is wrong. Or, perhaps more disconcerting, they think that the wrong heroes got the spotlight; "maybe put off new heroes for later, to give few established movie favorites their turn". That perspective, to be quite frank, seems not only unfair to new characters, but short-sighted for the brand.
However, rather than putting the selections on a pedestal (we can already anticipate how awesome they'll be for themselves) let's take a look at some options that weren't picked for the line-up.
As much as some folks would like to see this happen (and I wouldn't be shocked if it did happen, at some point), now is simply not the time. Captain America is still on a journey of self-discovery, as to how his beliefs fit in the modern world. Killing him off at this point would be unnecessary, not to mention, very untrue to the hero's relevance. Just picture it: his trademark shield is broken in Age of Ultron, then he DIES in the next movie he stars in?
That level of disrespect would be even worse than Hawkeye being Loki-pwned for most of The Avengers. And let's be honest--disrespect aside, who would take his place at this point? Surely not Bucky (who would need another few movies just to resolve his being-brainwashed issues). And while Falcon is certainly quite a worthy contender (brave, noble, loyal, upstanding), he's too new to the game. He hasn't been established as a pillar of any team, so it would seem rushed.
Now, this is, by no means, a knock on Hawkeye. He's not my absolutely favorite character (I prefer heroes with powers), but he does have great potential as a hero (and, more importantly, as an antihero). That being said, I'm very happy he hasn't got his own movie yet. As interesting as it would be to see Hawkeye spy/mercenary/assassin action, that's sort of covered by [Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.](series:722469).
Now, perhaps when Agents moves on to a more sci-fi/fantasy feel (more outright with aliens and magic whatnot), then Hawkeye can be one of Marvel's connects back with the real world, but until then, the show pulls off that grounding effect just fine. The same goes with Black Widow (who, sadly, nobody even bothered to make fictional movie poster fan art for, on DeviantArt).
Unfortunately, Heroes for Hire is also not a thing, until further notice. Though, the logic behind that seems to stand pretty firm. First and foremost, many of the characters associated with this group most commonly ( [Ant-Man](movie:9048), Luke Cage, Iron Fist, [Black Panther](movie:9047), etc) are already slated for appearances within other movies, or within their own TV series slated to arrive on Netflix. Or in some cases (Moon Knight, Elektra, Shang Chi), if a series isn't underway, it should be.
And this isn't slated to happen for the very same reason as above. Half of the original team (Namor the Sub-Mariner and Silver Surfer) aren't even available for cinematic use by Marvel Studios at the moment, and one ([Doctor Strange](movie:559685)) has yet to even be introduced in his own movie. So, the only way you replace them, is with other members, based somewhat on the rosters from the comics.
And that is precisely how we got the current team roster we'll be seeing in years to come on Netflix. Though not always on the team at the same time, Daredevil, Luke Cage (Power Man) and Iron Fist have all been members of the Defenders team at one point or another (except Jessica Jones). That being said, would those actors be able to pull off their own shows, a team show, and also a movie within the course of a couple years? Probably not. Save 'em for later.
The choice to exclude this also did not surprise me. Not because I dislike the Thunderbolts, nor do I doubt their capacity. More simply, I don't see the casting working out just yet. To be frank, we haven't even gotten a second MCU Hulk, so the Leader is out of the question. Heaven forbid you just skip an introduction to that character (very important to Hulk mythos), and just up and add Red Hulk to a crew of folks like the Thunderbolts. So much confusion and outrage would ensue.
Not to mention, Elektra needs a movie/series to redeem her from being under the shadow of Jennifer Garner's run. Likewise, for neither of the movies to have fit together into a trilogy, the Punisher has had a lot of movies done about him in recent memory. Furthermore, it's going to take Ghost Rider some years to live down his turn under Nicolas Cage's belt. And neither Deadpool nor Agent Venom are even a thing in the MCU, for the foreseeable future.
And this choice seems suitable to sit out, too, in all honesty. Not that there's anything wrong with the characters themselves--each character and the team as a whole would both bring very new dynamic to what is possible, and what is expected as a team. Their relationships are interesting, their adventures are mixed and well rounded. They even have a pet dinosaur, for cryin' out loud.
Still, despite the great boons to their credit, they have the potential flaw of not being particularly relevant to events that build up to either Captain America 3: Civil War or the Avengers: Infinity War pair of movies. Yes, I think it may be simple as that. No more, no less. Any more in depth, and you risk a wrongfully negative assessment of the series, and it really is, otherwise, movie worthy.
Yes, sad as it is, this is likely for the best as well. Too much knowledge of his personal exploits is not necessarily relevant to the build up of Avengers: Infinity War. Not to mention, the team is best served with Hulk on it right now. What sense would it make to rocket Hulk off to another planet, with Thanos on his way? He's a very heavy hitter, and so critical to the team's fighting capability, even if he is a giant, green rage monster. For now, he remains on the team.
When the threat of Thanos is gone, though, and Phase 4 sees a new slate of heroes' stories waiting to be told? Oh, best believe we would all like to see Hulk take on the Leader, and for the Red Hulk to finally rear his ugly head, in the course of a couple movies. Not to mention, She-Hulk getting her turn in the spotlight, plus Iron Man and Cap thinking Hulk's too dangerous to stay on Earth (sending him into space for Planet Hulk and World War Hulk).
HONORABLE MENTION: LOKI
Alright, I'm often quick to dismiss the people over on Tumblr, but they've actually got a point here. This movie does have potential to take off into something very fun and intriguing. Norse god of mischief; what's not to find engaging about that? Perhaps Loki: Agent of Asgard adapted, or something, sure, it could be a thing, maybe, and I wouldn't discount its potential at the box office. Though, being not only nice, but also realistic, it must be said: the big dogs come first.
None of this Loki stuff, until the heroes have had their due. Not to shove him aside as a non-player, but superhero movies are not just about fun: they're about giving lead characters the spotlight, and Loki will already get plenty in the course of four other movies (Avengers, Thor 1-3). Full disclosure, I'd sooner hand a movie over to any of the above characters/groups (not to mention, Nova, Captain Britain, Hercules, New Warriors, Young Avengers, etc) before resorting to Loki.
In all, the idea of so many different superhero movies and TV series is incredibly exciting, and can even feel a tad overwhelming, but one must always keep a cool head. The folks at Marvel obviously know what they're doing. They're timing isn't our timing, and the order may not be exactly as we like it, but they do seem to have a coherent story going on. Nobody's been able to easily find fault with their game plan, or question whether or not they have a Vision (pun intended).
That being said, there are so many left yet unexplored. As mentioned before, Nova, Captain Britain, Hercules, New Warriors, Young Avengers, as well as Alpha Flight, New Avengers, Secret Wars, Avengers Academy, Kamala Khan's Ms. Marvel, Howard the Duck, Squirrel Girl, Journey into Mystery and more. And in due time, I feel 100% certain that we'll get as much as Marvel Studios can give.