Marvel’s Phase 3 begins in just a few months with Captain America Civil War. It is hard to believe that this all began with Iron Man just a few years ago. After seeing the Avengers in theatres, there were many things I hoped would come to pass but was certain wouldn’t. If you had told me then that not only would Vision be brought to the big screen but Daredevil and Jessica Jones would have two of the most critically successful TV series ever, I would have doubted you. But now nothing seems outside the realm of possibility and with that, I am happy to share eight of my hopes for the Marvel Universe, should we be lucky enough to reach Phase 4.
- A Change of The Guard
All indications from Marvel Studio (barring some speculation on contracts and such) are that we have reached the end of solo stories for the founding on screen Avengers. No Iron Man 4 has been announced, Civil War has been stated as the final chapter in the Captain America trilogy, and it’s hard to believe Thor will get a follow-up from Ragnarok since his films have struggled to find the acclaim that his cohorts have. This may be for the best, as not only an opportunity for the new heroes to step up to the big leagues but also to prevent us from getting sick of the original members. While it is conceivable that Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, and Thor will continue to play a supporting role, I think I speak for many comic book fans when I say how excited I am for the potential of seeing this world grow to feature more of the characters that populate the Marvel Universe.
- More Connections
With the dissolution of the Creative Committee and the promotion of Keven Feige, we may see some massive changes in how things function behind the scenes of the MCU. As a fan of all the shows and movies, I hope that this leads to Kevin Feige having a hand in the television side (since many news outlets have reported on a divide between the two divisions) and hopefully lead to some crossover between the movies and television. While I am against the idea of, for example Hulk showing up to fight Kingpin, it would be fun to maybe see Matt Murdock defend Banner in court. Maybe see Jessica Jones save some civilians from falling rubble when Thanos comes knocking. Maybe some small cameos that the general audience can appreciate without too much background while the devout followers,such as myself, know a whole other side of the story.
- More Diversity
Let me start by saying I think Marvel has done a fine job with making their universe feel like it incorporates all kinds of different people. While the founding Avengers may have largely been white males (barring Nick Fury and Black Widow), that can largely be attributed to having to utilize the biggest names they had available to begin this endeavor. That being said, the fact that we are on the horizon of Black Panther and Captain Marvel solo films, in addition to the TV side incorporating characters of all colors and gender, is a sign of what is to come. Perhaps Netflix will incorporate White Tiger so we can have a Latina superhero. Maybe the films will bring the critical darling Kamala Kahn Miss Marvel to life. The catalog runs deep and as we are seeing more willingness to alter a character’s ethnicity when it doesn’t wholly alter the character, I think we may see more changes like this in the years to come.
- A Serious Side
While Marvel has focused on making fun films that everyone can enjoy, the more mature story telling was lacking from the initial slate of films. This is not necessarily a bad thing, the movies have heart, offer an escape from the mundane, and give us character’s that we can easily attach to. However with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Daredevil, and Jessica Jones, we have seen that Marvel is willing to take a grimmer, more serious approach to their stories as well. While the Netflix slate can be expected to maintain a similar grit (since these are street level heroes dealing with more real world style conflicts), it may be intriguing for say, Black Panther to have the feel of more international intrigue, or give us a film of some of the supernatural characters that plays more as a horror film. I am by no means an advocate for an R rated Avengers, but something doesn’t have to be bloody with lots of f-bombs to be mature.
- Longer Lasting Villains
A major criticism of the Marvel Films has always been its villains. While Loki, Fisk, and Ward have found their fans, many of the monsters we have seen have either been killed off or forgotten after their initial showing. The Marvel Comics have always had some interesting villains and here is the hope that soon we get some of them in live action. The Taskmaster, a former SHIELD agent with photographic reflexes, maybe another appearance from Emil Blonsky the Abomination (locked up in Antartica since Hulk), the real Manadrin who was alluded to in the Marvel One Shot, etc. Any of them would be welcome additions to the screen with hopefully a longer life span. We are already seeing signs of the one-and-done villains receding, with Thanos having played a role since the initial Avengers, Wilson Fisk no doubt plotting his return from behind bars, and Brock Rumlow (Crossbones) set to show in Civil War. Let us see if any of the still living or new villains to be introduced can stick around to fight another day.
- An Avengers World
In the world of the MCU, any bad guy is surely up for a struggle in trying to wreak havoc in the USA. At current count, we have well over a dozen heroes running around America. But as any good fanboy knows, the Marvel Universe is pretty well protected all over the planet. We have seen The Avengers and SHIELD offer assistance in other countrie – how about some local heroes fighting the good fight? Maybe the creation of MI13, the British based organization home to Captain Britain and Blade. A live action incarnation of Big Hero Six in Hong Kong. We know Black Panther will introduce us to Wakanda (an African Nation) and Doctor Strange is expected to at least show up in the East for his tutelage (whether he is based there or not is another question). If these are successful, maybe we will be introduced to some of the wider world of superheroes.
- Avengers Tower or Ivory Tower
The Avengers shouldn’t be dealing with drug dealers or crime syndicates. They have a world to save and honestly if Iron Man started breaking down drug den doors, many would wonder if it really is the best use of time for a man who is on the road to solving energy shortages. So here is hoping that we don’t get to see that, but maybe we do see some friction between the alien and god-fighting heroes, and the guys who are just trying to make their neighborhood a better place. In Jessica Jones, the titular character and her ally Luke Cake both referred to the Avengers by more casual terms such as “flag waver” or “big green guy”. While some felt this was an awkward attempt to shoehorn in references without being too direct, I saw it more as the neighborhood vigilantes showing a more flippant and less respectful feeling for these characters. It is a sentiment that has been present in the source material as well and is a valid one. When someone like Matt Murdock has to struggle through horrible injuries and psychological scarring to try and prevent innumerable deaths in his neighborhood, he has to wonder why someone like Captain America (who could very easily expose and defeat the Kingpin) can’t be bothered to even notice the trouble going on. This divide is not only an understandable sentiment, but one that adds a more mature line of thinking to the story.
- More Worlds
The Marvel Universe is a big place. In addition to the heroes of other nations, other dimensions and worlds are steady source of stories and characters. We were given a hint of this with Guardians of The Galaxy showing us events transpiring across the Universe, Thor brought Asgard to life in a beautiful future scape, and Doctor Strange is rumored to take us to the Dark Dimension. Hopefully with the possible exit of Thor we can see the Olympus based characters (best exemplified by Hercules) or the MCU version of Hell. Maybe alternate realities with different or twisted versions of our favorite characters.
While some of these hopes may seem crazy, with the current progress we have seen in the MCU, I daresay none of them are impossible.
Do you agree? What do you want to see in Marvel’s Phase 4? Leave us a comment below!
Nicholas Ramirez is The Geekiverse’s ultimate comic book hero fanboy. Keep up with his dearth of Marvel knowledge by following The Geekiverse on social media.
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