Sometime over the weekend, the stars came into alignment, and the powers that be at Marvel Studios and Sony came to an agreement stating that Peter Parker would be joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not only that, but it was also announced that characters from Marvel's studio would be working their way into the Sony-owned Spider-Man films as well. Fans immediately began speculating about how big a role Spider-Man would play in the upcoming Captain America 3: Civil War and the MCU as a whole, but Ol' Webhead isn't the only character in Sony's roster of characters that could make huge waves in Marvel's ever-expanding connected universe. Here's six more characters (or in two cases, a group of characters) that could play a massive role in Marvel's other films, or even stand on their own in a proper Marvel or Sony film.
1. Miles Morales
Okay, let's get the obvious one out of the way. Fans have been clamoring for Miles Morales to appear ever since 2012's The Amazing Spider-Man. Now more than ever, introducing Miles as Spider-Man makes a great deal of sense. Audiences by now are intimately familiar with the Peter Parker origin story, and watching Uncle Ben die on-screen is something nobody should have to sit through for a third time.
Unfortunately, many of the reports circling the recent news has indicated that Peter Parker will once again be the teenager wearing the red and blue, but that doesn't necessarily mean Miles might not be lined up to be a successor to the costume at some point. In fact, seeing as how Spider-Man is first set to appear in Captain America: Civil War, it could be possible to introduce Peter Parker and then moving on to a new character for 2017's solo Spidey flick.
In the Civil War comic book story line, the event that puts everything into motion involves a group of D-list superheroes and reality TV stars calling themselves The New Warriors cause the destruction of an entire city block trying to apprehend the supervillain known as Nitro. This sparks a nationwide movement to reveal secret identities with the Superhero Registration Act.
Now, it is unlikely that Marvel has any interest in introducing the New Warriors or any other minor characters to launch the event, but bringing in Spider-Man is another story. Say the film opens up with an epic confrontation between Parker's Spider-Man and the supervillain du jour, causing massive amounts of damage to public property. Tony Stark, brooding on the guilt of creating Ultron in the second Avengers film, tries to convince the young teen that it is better to take responsbility for his actions. As a result, Parker reveals his identity, and then is subsequently killed another of his nemeses at the climax of the film.
This story would allow audiences to see a glimpse of Peter Parker on the big screen with the other triple-A Marvel heroes, prevent audiences from sitting through another origin story, and open up the MCU to introducing the younger Miles Morales. Likely? Maybe not, but it would be an interesting and surprising turn of events in a franchise that is desperately in need of a fresh take.
2. Norman Osborn
With perhaps the sole exception of Dr. Doom, no villain has stood against a larger number of the Marvel universe than Norman Osborn. Although he has always been Spider-Man's own Lex Luthor, both he and his alter-ego the Green Goblin have encountered numerous other superheroes throughout the Marvel Universe. As a millionaire industrialist, he serves as a great counterpoint to Tony Stark, and even took over Stark's role as Iron Man for a time, wearing the stars-and-stripes themed Iron Patriot armor instead. Soon after, Osborn led the invasion on Asgard as it floated in the skies over the prairie of Oklahoma while acting as the Director of SHIELD. Both of these storylines could come into play later on in films after Marvel's planned releases up to 2019, particularly since it appears that after Infinity War, there will be major shake-ups to the Avengers line-up.
First, let's assume that the following two things happen: one, Tony Stark will be killed off prior to the end of the Infinity War. Robert Downey Jr. can only play the character for so long, after all-- even if Marvel continues to provide the amounts of cash the actor is looking to receive. After Thanos is finally defeated, the United States will likely need a new protector, so it will be time for Norman to step into the Iron Patriot armor. As an added side effect, this would allow the writers to explore another alter ego of the villain instead of having to focus on rewriting a third version of the Green Goblin.
Second, we have to assume the kingdom of Asgard descends into place over Oklahoma, as it occurs in the comics. The title of Thor: Ragnarok certainly suggests some sort of cataclysmic event, and ending the film with Thor sacrificing himself to cast his realm into place over the Great Plains would be an epic climax to the film, and once again, it would be a suitable way of allowing Chris Hemsworth to step back from the role.
After the events of Infinity War, the population will be even more paranoid of visitors from beyond our planet, and Norman Osborn - as either the Iron Patriot or perhaps even Director of SHIELD - will use those isolationist tendencies to paint the Asgardians as invaders rather than as refugees, and lead an army against the displaced realm in a Marvel Phase 4 film.
Of course, Norman will not be able to topple the realm without some help, which brings us to...
3. The Dark Avengers
The Dark Avengers was composed of the supervillains Norman Osborn dressed up to play the role of planetary protector, and would eventually take part in the Siege on Asgard. The original lineup included a number of characters that Marvel either does not have the rights to (like Wolverine's son Dakin, who takes on his father's costume and title) or haven't yet introduced (the god of war Ares, the Red Hulk, and Moonstone dressed up as Ms. Marvel). DC is going to beat Marvel to the punch on the first supervillain-focused comic book film with the Suicide Squad, the Dark Avengers would be a nice way for Marvel to make their own villain flick without making a Thunderbolts movie, the story of which would likely be too similar to DC's movie to justify standing on its own.
There would have to be several changes to the roster, however, as characters like The Sentry, Moonstone, the Red Hulk, and Ares have not been introduced, and all require a good deal of back story to be properly brought into the universe. Bullseye, however, could still work, as he will likely be introduced in Daredevil's second season, as a dark version of Hawkeye, and other villains could serve in similar roles. Tom Hiddleston's Loki, Tim Roth's Abomination, Frank Grillo's Crossbones; all of them could serve as dark counterpoints to their opposing hero, and the ensemble working together to destroy Asgard would be an excellent way for the next wave of Marvel superheros such as Black Panther, Dr. Strange, the Defenders, and The Inhumans to prove themselves to audiences who may not be as familiar with them as they were the outgoing cast of Avengers.
4. Spider Woman
Before Sony announced their new deal with Marvel Studios, rumors emerged about a wide variety of supposed Spider-projects, including everything from stand-alone Venom and Sinister Six films to a movie about the younger days of Peter Parker's Aunt May. One of the more favorable ideas to emerge from these rumors was that Sony was looking to develop a Spider-Woman movie, and speculation began to run rampant as to which Spider-Woman Sony was looking to portray on the big screen. My personal favorite iteration, Jessica Drew, seemed like an unlikely choice, as she was traditionally portrayed as a SHIELD agent or a member of an Avengers team, and without some of that supporting cast to bring to the story, it seemed more likely to go with another version of the character.
With their deal with Marvel now, however, Jessica Drew's stock just went up a great deal, as she can now be a full-fledged member of either SHIELD or the Avengers. It's easy to imagine a movie version of her as a member of a new generation of SHIELD agents that have superpowers to aid their covert operations, using her spider-like powers and the ability to manipulate pheromones as a tool against a new era of super-powered terrorists.
What other Marvel characters might be poised to appear in such a film? Well, if anyone could teach a young femme fetale how to stand her ground in a war against gods, aliens, and robots, who better than current Marvel superspy Black Widow? It becomes more unlikely as Marvel's franchise train continues to lurch west that Scarlett Johansen's assassin will get to headline her own flick, so it would make a lot of sense for Sony to bring her in as a mentor to their own leading lady while also giving Black Widow some long overdue time in the spotlight.
5. Agent Venom
First of all, no, there is absolutely no need for audiences to see Topher Grace in a slimmed-down Venom costume on screen again. The Eddie Brock version of Venom had his day as Spider-Man's archnemesis, but he is ultimately a boring, slobbering hulk of a character that would simply not make that much of an impact as a primary villain.
With that being said, however, Marvel's newest take on the character involves former Peter Parker bully Flash Thompson donning the suit in order to take on covert assignments for the government. The suit gives the paralyzed Thompson the use of his legs so long as it is worn, but must be used cautiously in order to prevent the psychotic symbiote from taking over Flash's mind and calling the shots. That's a recipe for a great superhero film, and it's the version of Venom that audiences deserve to see on the big screen.
Additionally, Thomspon's Venom has become a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy recently as they explore the planet where the symbiotes originally came from. This would mark a strong tie between Sony's Spider-Man characters and the soon-to-be-expanded-upon greater celestial universe. Besides, who wouldn't want to see the Venom symbiote attach itself to Groot? Nincompoops, that's who.