If there’s one thing that Marvel Comics has gotten right, it’s the expansion of their characters from the written page into the world of movies. So far, we’ve had hits like the X-Men movies and Spiderman movies, put out by Fox and Sony respectively, and the entire “one thing leads to another” phasing of movies by Disney, starting out with Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and The Hulk, leading into the Avengers franchise. Add films like Blade, Ghost Rider, Wolverine, Daredevil, Fantastic Four, Elektra, and of course Guardians of the Galaxy to the mix and it’s become very clear that movies based on comic book characters, especially Marvel comics, means money and big time reciepts at the box office.
And it just gets better and better as just days ago, Marvel Studios announced the release list of what will be “Phase 3” of their plan for box-office dominance with such titles as Dr. Strange, The Black Panther, Avengers: Age of UItron, Captain America: Civil War, Captain Marvel (featuring Carol Danvers, aka Ms. Marvel), Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Thor: Ragnorak and The Inhumans all in the mix. Also movies about Ant Man, a possible Iron Man #4 and even movies about The Black Widow have all been talked about.
And while this covers pretty much up until 2019 for the Marvel comics brand, it got me to wondering, who will be the characters and movies released in the next phase, Phase 4 of the Marvel Universe takeover? I have five suggestions and ideas. By the way, since Fox owns the rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises and Sony manages the Spiderman stuff, I can’t use characters from those groups unfortunately. But there are so many great characters out there. Here’s my list of five that I think would transfer well to the live-action media.
Top 5 Characters / Movies I’d Like To See in Marvel Studios Phase Four…
5: The West Coast Avengers: A simple concept where you take one of the members of the original Avengers team (Hawkeye) and use him as the leader of an expansion team of Avengers, operating under the watchful eyes of SHIELD. Have Hawkeye go out and recruit other heroes to join the cause such as Tigra, Iron Man (James Rhodes from the Iron Man movies), Agent Maria Hill (of SHIELD), Simon Williams aka Wonder Man, Ant Man and The Wasp, Hercules, etc. There are so many characters out there who have been Avengers at some point and time that may not be big enough to headline their own movies, but as part of a team, could easily be brought in and featured as part of an Avengers franchise. It really needs to happen at some point and I expect it probably would.
4. The Night Stalkers: Blade has already been introduced to the big screen to moderate success. Now picture how the always charming “Day Walker” would react to the idea of people like Captain America, The Hulk or Iron Man. Throw in his partners, the vampire Hannibal King and Frank Drake, with his high-tech super gun, “Linda”. It would make sense that someone like Blade would be noticed by a group like SHIELD and while they probably wouldn’t be too thrilled about him and what he does (killing vampires), I could see them giving an unofficial stamp of approval to his activities. It could also easily be tied into the upcoming Dr. Strange movie since Hannibal King is a known associate of the Sorcerer Supreme and also, Strange’s brother, Victor Strange, was a vampire. The Nightstalkers works in so many ways, it really needs to be done.
3. Dr. Druid: The poor man’s Dr. Strange, but in truth, this character was created before Dr. Strange (or the Fantastic Four or Spiderman for that matter). He’s the “Master of the Unknown” and has such powers as telepathy, the ability to hypnotize and create illusions, magic (with a weakness of iron) and telekenesis. He’s also a loner, kind of anti-social and has a superiority complex that makes him hard to deal with sometimes. He is all about knowledge and has so many character flaws, it makes for a great character. With his allies such as Cadaver, Shadow Woman and The Blazing Skull in the background, the possibilities are endless as to what this character could do and where they could take him on the big screen. And he’s one of my favorite characters as well to write so there you go. Marvel needs to really look at Druid and make it happen.
2. The New Warriors: A simple concept where a group of younger heroes form an alliance and attempt to emulate The Avengers. Maybe even have one of the older heroes come in and act as a mentor of sorts. Look at the great characters though: Night Thrasher: a young man who’s parents were murdered and he’s turned himself into a human fighting machine. Speedball, a guy with kinetic bouncy abilities and a bad joke for every occasion. Rage, a young kid who was transformed by chemicals into a super-strong monster of a man, but still with the heart and soul of a child. Justice, a victim of child-abuse who accidentially killed his father, using telekenetic powers he both loves and fears. Namorita, a half-breed from the legendary land of Atlantis, part of two worlds, yet not truly a part of either. Firestar, a young mutant with radioactive powers. Silhouette, a crippled woman with the powers to melt into the shadows. And of course, Nova, who needs no introduction to comic book fans. It has everything. Teen angst and drama, people over-coming their weaknesses to be the best they can be, hero worship, anxiety, attractive young people, parent issues and even great villians such as Psionex, The Sphinx and The Folding Circle. So many things that could be done with these characters and it’s a movie that would appeal to both comic fans, new viewers, old and young, boys and girls alike. It could and most likely would be big.
1. The Invaders: This could be done as a flashback for Captain America, remembering a brief time in World War II where he was allied with Namor, the Prince of Atlantis, his own young partner, Bucky, an android called The Human Torch and the Torch’s partner, Toro, the speedster Spitfire and the legendary British hero, Union Jack. A simple enough thing to do as Captain America is forced to work with these heroes to fight the Nazi’s and Hitler in a secret mission. The movie tells of this mission and it’s explained that the reason he didn’t mention this mission, or these heroes, before in the earlier Captain America movies was that he was hyptonized to forget as a matter of national security. But for some reason, his memory returns and we have this movie, introducing the characters from the great war into the Marvel movie Universe, done as a series of flashbacks. And at the end, in real (our) time, Cap decides to investigate and discovers that his former team-mates are still alive. Namor is from Atlantis so he would age more slowly. Torch was an android so he wouldn’t age. And Toro, Bucky and Spitfire could all be in suspended animation or something like that. Union Jack was already old in World War II, being a hero from the first World War, so he’d probably be dead at this point. War movies always do well and The Invaders were a great part of Captain America’s past that really needs to be explored and carried into the future and modern times. And hopefully, Marvel will decide to make it happen.
And there you go. If we could add the X-Men, Spiderman and Fantastic Four franchises to the mix, we’d probably have a list of a hundred movies that Marvel Studios needs to be making, but for the time being (and Phase 4), I’ll settle for these few.