Arguably, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the biggest movie franchise in the history of all time, and the safe money would be on betting that Marvel isn't planning to slow down any time soon. With the enormous slate of films scheduled out through 2020 to the end of Phase 3, we're set to see our beloved Avengers join forces with the Guardians of the Galaxy to face off against Thanos. Yet Phase 3 doesn't end there, as we're set to meet several new characters before 2020 as well, including Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Doctor Strange, The Inhumans and the Spectacular Spider-Man.
The next four years are already primed to be a continuation of what Marvel started when they rolled out their plan for a cinematic universe eight years ago with Iron Man. With Phase 3 technically just beginning this May with the release of Captain America: Civil War, some may question why they're looking so many movies ahead, considering that, as I stated above, we have so much to look forward to between now and 2020. Yet, if I know anything about Marvel, then I can assume that they're already planning and scheming about what the following 5 years, 10 years, and years beyond that will be filled with. And if they're looking for suggestions, I thought I'd throw a few out there:
8. Squirrel Girl
Now before you stop reading, hear me out on this one. Squirrel Girl is one of the most underestimated heroes in the history of Marvel comics. Although her powers seem sometimes laughable (squirrel control, a tail, and claws/fangs), the fact that she has her own solo series, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, should at least make you consider having her in the MCU. Technically, there could be some legal issues bringing Squirrel Girl into the MCU since she's actually a mutant, but since she's popped into nearly as many Avengers stories as she has X-Men ones, her rights could be shared like we saw with Quicksilver.
Squirrel Girl would be a great comedic addition to the MCU, similar to what we've seen in Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man. Speaking of GotG, director James Gunn even expressed interest in directing a Squirrel Girl movie. It seems like it's written in the stars for this movie to happen.
I don't think Clint Barton is ready for a solo movie (although I'd pay to see it), but if you partner him up with Kate Bishop, you have the makings of a solid movie. Kate Bishop, at one point in the comics, took over the mantle of Hawkeye after Clint stepped down (which could happen as it was hinted at in Avengers: Age of Ultron). Yet, there was also a time when Clint and Kate partnered: Clint being the sarcastic wise mentor and Kate being the determined young heroine. The two could bring a new dichotomy to Marvel's Cinematic Universe, and start a sort-of passing of the torch for various other heroes that eventually take the place of the alumni characters like Hawkeye, Captain America, and Thor.
A dynamic-duo film of this sort could do well to begin the transition from our currently established team of Avengers, especially considering that up to this point we haven't really seen a movie like this. We've seen solo movie after solo movie as well as the overall team films. The upcoming Ant-Man and Wasp film in Phase 3 should show how a partnership movie could exist in the MCU.
Venom has had a long-rumored and poorly-used presence in the Spider-Man films. All the way back to the 2007 film by Sam Raimi where Venom was introduced (portrayed by Topher Grace) as merely an opportunity to sell merchandise and to market a spin-off for the symbiotic alien. Sony has even had a script planned for years, but when The Amazing Spider-Man was released and rebooted the story line, Venom was shelved. Then another spin-off was announced within the new rebooted story, and yet again, Venom was canned after the sequel failed to blow anyone away. With Spider-Man set to step into the MCU, this is the perfect chance for Venom to enter the cinematic universe.
Venom has several ties across the Marvel universe of comics, and it makes perfect sense for the Sony/Marvel partnership to look at adapting the iconic villain (and anti-hero) in the best way possible. Over the years, Venom has stepped out of Spider-Man's comics and crossed paths with Thunderbolts and even the modern Guardians of the Galaxy.
5. The Runaways
Originally, The Runaways were a part of the planning phase of Phase 1, as a screenplay was commissioned, and was to be directed by Peter Sollett. Eventually it was canned when Marvel and Disney decided to focus all their efforts on building and launching the Avengers onto the big screen. Ultimately, this choice wound up being a fantastic call, but The Runaways should still be on the short list of films to join Phase 4. The Runaways are a great group of heroes with a wide array of abilities and personalities, which would make them enter the MCU fairly easily.
With the surge of young adult films entering the cinematic realm, it makes an incredible amount of sense to introduce this collection of teens as they discover that their parents are part of an evil crime organization. The teens steal weapons and resources from their parents and ultimately discover that they have inherited their parents' powers including: witchcraft, dinosaur telepathy, controlling plants and solar energy manipulation.
4. Planet Hulk or World War Hulk
Hulk's popularity finally looks to be on the rise again at Marvel, after three attempts at stand-alone movies. Add in the fan outpouring of love and approval for our new Bruce Banner and it looks like his screen time is going to increase, as he's apparently playing a much larger role in Thor: Ragnarok opposite everyone's favorite Norse God. With Hulk's re-emergence, it only seems right to give him a solo film again. The rumors circulating now are that in Thor: Ragnarok we will find Hulk on a distant planet: neither Asgard nor Earth, which could be a pseudo-introduction to the Planet Hulk story.
If that is where we meet Hulk, a story could easily be transitioned to incorporate Hulk getting too dangerous and having the Avengers send him off-world only to return from the planet we discovered him on as a King with an army to enact his revenge a la World War Hulk.
3. Captain Marvel 2
Captain Marvel, also known as Carol Danvers, is actually one of the most important pieces of closing out Phase 3 and introducing Phase 4. Captain Marvel is one of the most powerful figures in the Marvel universe, and she's also integral for the future of the Avengers. Thanks to some alien technology, Carol's DNA is merged with that of the Kree hero Mar-Vell, and after some time she takes on the name Captain Marvel. Although she has yet to be introduced, she will become a powerhouse for Phase 4 and one of this world's strongest allies. Captain Marvel is an ex-soldier, so she understands the chain of command and submitting to orders, much like the modern Captain America understood through his time in the military.
After her solo film releases in 2019, it should introduce her to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a hero who will carry us into Phase 4. She will become a leader and corral the heroes of our universe as they prepare for whatever else arises that threatens the planet, and even more-so threatens the universe. In Phase 4 we'll be set to see our heroes begin to expand out in an attempt to protect the universe as we know it.
2. Thor: Rebirth
Okay, I'm calling it 'Thor: Rebirth' because I think after the events of Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War Part I and Part 2, we should see a transition from our beloved Norse God of Thunder, Thor. We already know that Chris Hemsworth will most likely be bowing out soon, and what better time than Phase 4 to introduce his successor, Jane Foster. That's right, the mighty name of Thor has been passed on to Thor's earthly love-interest and long-time supporting character in the comics.
We already know that there is a big push to incorporate more female heroes into the cinematic universe, and introducing Jane Foster as Thor would go a long way to establishing Thor as a heroine for the future generations of moviegoers, and I wouldn't mind seeing Natalie Portman step into this role since she's one of my favorite actresses. Or we could even see the origin shift slightly and the title of Thor being earned by Lady Sif, or possibly the rumored Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok, or possibly even Angela from the 10th realm of Heven (Angela being the first born daughter of Odin and eventual member of the Guardians of the Galaxy). Do you see the potential here?
1. Black Widow
Everyone wants this, so it's time to draw up the plans, Marvel. Bring us a solo Black Widow movie. Although she technically doesn't have the heroic powers like many of the other heroes in the universe, that has never stopped her from being a total badass heroine in her own right. The draw of a solo Black Widow movie is that it would be inherently different from all the other Marvel properties. For a solo movie we could look more closely at either a story that ties into the events in Budapest, or a new, more unique story as she possibly takes more of a leadership role within S.H.I.E.L.D. after the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War Part I and Part II.
Either way, this movie needs to happen as it's been far too long since we fans have been asking for it and it would add a new dynamic outside of the basic superhero film. Having Black Widow in her own solo movie would bring in the covert affairs aspect and introduce much more of the secrecy of what S.H.I.E.L.D. does outside of the normal scope of their reach.
What do you think? Would you see any of these movies? Even if these films don't make the cut, I believe that Marvel has something truly incredible waiting for us after Phase 3.