This week brought some exciting news. Marvel has decided to end much speculation and give us their entire film roster for Phase 3, up til May 2019. This is the Marvel Universe as it stands now:
Movies: Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, & Marvel's The Avengers
Marvel One-Shots: The Consultant & A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer
Movies: [Iron Man 3](movie:24391), Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, & Avengers: Age of Ultron
Television: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Seasons 1 & 2) & Agent Carter (season 1)
Marvel One-Shots: Item 47, Agent Carter, & All Hail the King
Netflix: Marvel’s Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, & The Defenders
Here is the big news that we've been reading about! Here is the entire Phase 3 movie lineup:
[Captain America: Civil War](movie:994409)
Guardians of the Galaxy 2
Avengers: Infinity War (part 1)
Avengers: Infinity War (part 2)
Is everyone up to speed? Good! Now has come the time to speculate about Phase 4. Here is a potential lineup:
The Incredible Hulk 2
What will Phase 4 look like? For starters, what omission from the recent Phase 3 reveal is the proverbial elephant in the room? Surely it is the absence of a Hulk solo movie. It is not as if Marvel has lost its faith in Hulk. He featured prominently in Avengers and is likely to feature prominently in Age of Ultron, including a showdown of unknown cause, duration, or intensity with Iron Man. World War Hulk has been the most talked about possibility for a Hulk film. It seems to me that a Planet Hulk film (borrowing heavily from the setting & design of [Guardians of the Galaxy](movie:424073)) would need to come first. I suppose they could just skip the part with the Hulk being exiled for being too much of a security risk, but it is hard to explain his rage without the exile. Marvel's The Avengers established that Banner has a modicum of control over Hulk when he *chooses* to become Hulk. In order for Hulk to lead an attack, he has to be more than just a rage monster. Ergo, whatever launches World War Hulk has to be such a betrayal that Banner is fully invested in the battle.
The Amazing Spider-Man 3 & Venom
Yes, I know SONY owns the movie rights to Spider-Man. Right now, SONY is hoping that they can develop The Sinister Six into a movie. THAT is how desperate they are to have their own Avengers. Meanwhile, a lot of speculation is that SONY is eager to get out of the movie-making game. So, if The Sinister Six flops, I see SONY cutting bait and selling the rights of Spider-Man back to Marvel, making a profit as the shut down their movie business. If this happens, expect Marvel to try to incorporate the current Spider-Man storylines into the MCU, as fans are not eager for yet another Spider-Man origin story.
Black Widow &/or Hawkeye
Put this in the “Hey, why don’t these Avengers have their own film?” category. The most compelling Black Widow story would be a prequel to show her life when she chose to fight for the good guys; unpack her back story to flesh out her motivations. A Hawkeye movie wouldn’t really work, in my opinion. The Hawkeye of the comics has a great sense of humor, but the Hawkeye of the MCU is merely a soldier. The best bet for a Hawkeye movie would be a lower-budget movie of Clint Barton tracking down & crossing off a particularly nasty HYDRA agent for Director Coulson. Grim Reaper, perhaps. ... Falcon & War Machine are also candidates for solo movies.
Starring some young, good looking actor & as well as the opposite of that in John C. Reilly as Rhomann Dey. The Nova Commander gets shot down over Earth by Who Cares & has to rely on the help of human Sam Alexander, who accidentally inherits superpowers from the Random Infinity McGuffin that Dey is carrying to Somewhere for safe keeping. There is a lot of potential here, especially if they treat this movie like a Guardians sequel.
Speaking of movies that a basically a Guardians sequel. I kind of thought Adam Warlock would be introduced before the Infinity War. He may yet, but not in his own movie. Guardians 2, perhaps. His cocoon was a major Easter Egg in Guardians of the Galaxy.
Prince Namor: the Sub-Mariner
One of the oldest characters in comic books, dating back to World War II, like Batman & Superman. Namor is generally misanthropic, arrogant, & very powerful. He could even be introduced as a misunderstood villain. As prince of Atlantis, he could lead an invasion to try to stop the dry-landers from destroying the oceans. There are two problems with Namor’s rights. No one really seems to know who has Namor’s rights. Most assume that Marvel has retrieved the rights, but the courts might rule that the character is still the property of Universal. Interestingly enough, Universal still had the rights to Hulk (at least distribution rights) during the making of The Incredible Hulk, which is part of the MCU. Universal, it would seem, is much easier to work with than FOX or SONY. Furthermore, Namor was an integral part of the X-Men during the Avengers vs. X-Men storyline, and everyone knows that FOX owns the X-Men.
I am not a fan of horror movies, but this strikes me as the best place for Marvel to get into the horror game. This character might be a great addition to Marvel's Netflix lineup.
The first Blade movie was pretty great. The second one was kinda dumb. By universal recommendation, I did not see the third one. Does the world need another Blade? Probably not, but Blade is Marvel’s best bet to capture the vampire craze before it dies out.
All indications are that Dr. Hank Pym is an old guy in the movie Ant-Man, and that it will focus on Scott Lang. A prequel could show when Dr. Pym first discovered Pym particles. This film, set in the 1960s, could bridge the gaps between Captain America: The First Avenger & the rest of the movies. Cameos by everyone in that timeframe: Howard Stark, Peggy Carter, Col. Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones), and Dum Dum Dugan & the rest of the Howling Commandos. Also, this is a chance to do Janet Van Dyne aka The Wasp, who was a founding member of the Avengers in the comics.
Iron Man 4
Why do the Marvel One-Shot All Hail the King if not to take another swing at Iron Man vs. The Mandarin?
The 2 current shows: We need to point out that the recent announcement for Phase 3 only affects the movie side of the MCU. There is no guarantee that Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or Agent Carter will survive Phase 2. To save these shows, I believe that they need to move Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. & Agent Carter to Friday nights. Put them back to back. Heck, I’d even throw in another Marvel show, & ABC can just turn over Friday nights over to Marvel. Reasons: Friday night is a ratings wasteland, everyone knows this. However, the recent trend is for the networks to use Fridays for their high quality programs that don’t have stellar ratings, such as CBS’s Blue Bloods. Besides, in the days of DVR, one no longer has to choose between their favorite Friday night show & a night on the town. Furthermore, the hardest of core fans of comic books aren’t exactly filling the clubs.
A 3rd Marvel show on ABC: Since this is ABC we are talking about here, the third Marvel show should have a focus on females, romance, relationship drama, etc. So Punisher is off the table. The best option here would be The Runaways. Or, if they can get away with it, perhaps something like Avengers Academy, if they can keep it from being a ripoff of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.
Netflix: Assuming fans devour the Netflix watch-at-your-pace series of Marvel’s JV team (Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, & Iron Fist), I think utilizing Netflix for Marvel Knights is the way to go. Ghost Rider, Punisher, Moon Knight, and Blade would make excellent additions to the Netflix/Marvel family. Then, once those characters have found their groove, Marvel can invest in February-release-date, lower-budget movies for these characters. If they can totally ripoff Batman without appearing to do so, Moon Knight might just become one of Marvel’s best characters. Netflix might also be the place to do a Deathlok spinoff from Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., allowing this character to go darker.
I was saddened that Marvel chose not to put a One-Shot short in the Captain America: The Winter Soldier Blu-Ray. I understand that Marvel has bigger things on their plate right now. The One-Shots, however, are an excellent chance to tap young directorial talent who are not ready for major motion pictures. One-Shots are also chances to explore characters that would make terrible movies.
Howard the Duck – This is actually the evidence to support the previous sentence. Howard the Duck was one of the worst movies ever made, by general consent. However, the random inclusion of Howard in the stinger (hidden scene) of Guardians of the Galaxy shows that he is just interesting enough to explore a bit further.
The Collector – For no other reason than for Marvel to unload as many Easter Eggs as they possibly can.
Rocket & Groot – Probably not worth its own movie, but I’d kinda like to see how these two came into each others’ service.
Jasper Sitwell, Agent of HYDRA – Agent Sitwell is no longer with us, a victim of a bit of friendly fire by fellow HYDRA operative The Winter Soldier. Revealing Sitwell as a HYDRA agent within S.H.I.E.L.D. brings into question a lot of stuff. What was he doing for HYDRA while working tirelessly for S.H.I.E.L.D. in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the One-Shots The Consultant & Item 47, & the movies Thor and Avengers? A One-Shot could unpack what Sitwell was doing in the shadows, and give us a chance to see more of Maximiliano Hernandez, who was great in the role.
The Kid – You know, the scene stealer from Iron Man 3. They can do something with him.
The President – What, exactly, is it like being President Matthew Ellis? We got to see a little bit of how stressful his life is in Iron Man 3. Depending on whether he was elected in 2008 or 2012, he has had to handle such small public relations crises as two Iron Men battling in the streets of Pasadena, a Hulk rampage at a college campus & again in Harlem, major terrorist attacks at the World Tech Expo (using military-approved HAMMERTECH), the destruction of a small town in New Mexico, a major battle with about a trillion dollars worth of damage in Manhattan, the Mandarin attacks, his own attempted public assassination by AIM which was partially orchestrated by his own Vice President, a pretty substantial series of street battles in Washington D.C., the total dismantling of the world’s top spy network (S.H.I.E.L.D., which seems to be an American operation to a significant degree) by HYRDA, major infighting between the military and the remnants of S.H.I.E.L.D., & coming soon: Ultron. A short evaluation of the stress he is under could be the source of some dark humor.
Conclusion: Marvel seems to be on the right track. The success of Guardians gave Marvel the license to make just about anything they want to, expect maybe NFL Superpro (yes, that was a thing). I hope they utilize Netflix and make plans for what to do after the retirement of RDJ & the Chrises from the franchise. There are still a lot of stories to tell, if they do it right.