The unexpected and huge success of fan favorite character Deadpool might be changing the game for comic book movies. Most of the recent comic book iterations brought to life on the big screen have been generally relatable to audiences of all ages but with Deadpool's R-rated feature being a huge success for Fox, could it pave the way for other gritty R-rated stories to make it to the big screen?
One of note is that of the iconic Marvel story line 'Circle of Four' centered on the characters of Ghost Rider, X-23, General Thunderbolt (Red Hulk) Ross, and Flash (Agent Venom) Thompson. The story may not seem familiar with the wider audience as of now, but die-hard comic book fans would be raring to see Circle of Four brought to life. The story has tones of a supernatural genre of movie, but could be easily incorporated with the expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been trying to ground its characters down into real-world settings which has been a success in creating a world of super heroes and villains that coexist with everyday individuals as well, however the universe is not straining to be tied down to real world settings with the upcoming additions of the magic filled tale of Doctor Strange and another space epic for The Guardians of The Galaxy. There is no doubt that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is growing with future films Avengers: Infinity War and Doctor Strange expanding on the simple world that the Avengers live in, to new worlds that no one has seen yet. This could be a good point for Marvel to look to expand their universe to the fringes of the comic book mythology as well, more so to the supernatural side as well.
Along with the supernatural genre growing with popularity alongside comic-book properties, Marvel and studios alike would gain to profit from integrating their mainstream properties with other genres like the supernatural to entice a wider demographic to be involved with the entirety of their universes. We're probably still a long way off until another incarnation of the vampire Blade is brought back to a Marvel feature film but a stepping stone in that direction would be a lead in, in to the supernatural world of Marvel by introducing The Circle of Four.
The characters involved in The Circle of Four are greatly connected to the mainstream Marvel Universe, they are just not known yet. Three characters have had some incarnation presented onscreen already but not in the way comic-book fans would be excited to see. Eugene Flash Thompson for one, was portrayed in both Spiderman adaptations by obnoxious brutes never adding much to the character; though if the character were allowed to develop further, we could have seen Flash Thompson undergo a transformation from a broken down war hero into a heroic counterpart of the symbiote, Venom.
Another character involved in The Circle of Four story-line, has an upcoming part in Captain America: Civil War, known by the name of General Thaddeus Thunderbolt Ross. General Ross was seen in The Incredible Hulk and will now make another appearance in Civil War. This General Ross will most likely be a far comparison to the General Ross of Circle of Four. General Ross in the Circle of Four has taken up the mantle of Red Hulk by involving himself in experiments to duplicate the Hulk's power, he gains the ability to turn into a hulk-like creature himself but in the color of red instead of green. And in Captain America: Civil War, from his part in the released content within the trailers, it looks as though General Ross will most likely be playing some role in the SuperHero Registration Act to manage heroes and their actions, not as the Red Hulk but that could easily change.
The third character of Circle of Four that already has had a big screen debut was that of Ghost Rider; both Ghost Rider films were received with mixed reviews from audiences but another more ingrained adaptation of the character could be what ignites fans interest to the character. Ghost Rider has had a fascinating character arc in his comic book run, he's saved the world and fought alongside heroes like The Fantastic Four, his character hasn't been given his fair due yet; not saying Nicholas Cage's portrayal wasn't loyal to the character's mythology but it could have been presented in a much better manner. The character of Ghost Rider was meant to be a bounty hunter of hell but both films failed to acknowledge his role in the world, if Ghost Rider were presented as having goals on a daily basis like a detective for hire role, hunting down evil criminals that need judgment passed on them that could definitely bring fans in to see Ghost Rider take down the wicked with his ethereal power.
The only character left in the Circle of Four that hasn't had a big screen presence yet is that of X-23. X-23 isn't widely known, but she's part of a similar program known as Weapon X which was used to give Wolverine his adamantium skeleton and was then used to create clones based on Wolverine's dna that led to the creation of X-23. Within the comic mythology, X-23 breaks out of the lab where she's housed and kills the scientist presiding over her, than goes on a hunt to find Wolverine. Eventually the two have a confrontation but leads to some resolution for the two realizing they experienced similar ordeals because of the actions of others against them. The character doesn't have an existing place within the Marvel Cinematic Universe or the Fox X-Men Universe but seeing as that Hugh Jackman will be reprising his role as the Wolverine in the third chapter of Wolverine's saga for the last time, it opens up the possibility for Fox to feature another claw-wielding Weapon X candidate to tear up the big screen.
The addition of these four characters to the Marvel Cinematic Universe would open up the possibility for Marvel to reach upon another demographic interested in the supernatural genre, as well as expressing to the growing number of fans of Marvel properties that the studio is not afraid to cross boundaries to entertain fans, and bring home the bacon so to speak. Would you want to see Marvel invest in a supernatural thriller with these characters or other Marvel characters? Leave your thoughts below.