Friday, May 3, 2019

Marvel Phase 4 - Updated

A first for the blog - an updated post from a year ago to reflect new information.  A lot of the material below was posted a year ago after Avengers: Infinity War, and I thought it would be interesting to share and update as needed with some thoughts following Avengers: Endgame.  Original text will be below in italics and blue.

First things first, slight spoilers, but nothing that can't be gleamed from trailers/promotional materials - #ThanosStillDemandsYourSilence - it is really worth it to go in knowing as little as possible

The review was handled in Wednesday's blog.  For today, I'd like to focus on my thoughts phase 4 Phase 4, i.e. what Marvel does now after Endgame.  Some of this fits in with the If I Were Disney CEO blog series for Marvel Studios, but this is a little more granular.

Here is what I would like to see in Phase 4:

New Heroes:  While there are definitely sequels in the works (Guardians 3, Spider-man 2, Black Panther 2, and maybe Doctor Strange 2), there is a great opportunity to add new heroes to the film schedule.  Make a Black Widow movie.  Make a Hawkeye movie.  Add Nova, Adam Warlock, She-Hulk, Captain Britain, Star Brand, Thunderstrike, and Ms. Marvel.  These do not have to be in individual movies, but can be added as supporting cast where appropriate.  Ms. Marvel in the Captain Marvel movie for that introduction.

I'm still in total agreement with the above.  There are great opportunities to keep expanding.  We know a bit of what is in production now - the sequels for Black Panther, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Dr. Strange.  Captain Marvel 2 is certainly guaranteed with as much money as it first film made.  We also know Black Widow is finally getting her movie, as well as new entries for The Eternals and Shang Chi.  The interesting addition to this is the series for Disney+ streaming including The Falcon and Winter Soldier, WandaVision, Hawkeye, and Loki.  With further expansions on Hulu for Ghost Rider, Helstrom, The Offenders (M.O.D.O.K., Howard the Duck, Tigra, and Hit Monkey), things are looking bright for Marvel content.  I am still waiting for a Captain Britain movie.

New Imprints:  Marvel has published a lot of comics in its history and has covered a lot of different genres.  I would love to see a Marvel Edge line, maybe with a black background/red text logo, to cover the 1970s Marvel Monsters.  Give me a connected Blade, Tomb of Dracula, Castle Frankenstein, and Werewolf by Night movie series, that can occur in a side pocket of the cinematic universe.  It would be ironic if Marvel could beat Universal at its Dark Universe game.

Again, 100% behind this and would love to see a Marvel Edge line.

#ItsReallyAllConnected:  The early promise of the Marvel movies and television shows was that they were all connected.  And there have been small links, some more effective than others. The connection between Captain America: Winter Soldier and the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. really turned that series around.  The links have grown smaller and smaller over the years, with the suits declaring it to be a little too cumbersome.  The sad part of this is that it really just needs someone helping coordinate.  The ties do not have to be strangling, but a little can go a long way to make it all feel connected.  For example, if someone could have just suggested a throwaway line for Thunderbolt Ross to say that people are getting powers from fish oil in Avengers: Age of Ultron as a reason for the Sokovia accords, that would have made a great impact.

We've seen our first link (finally).  Hopefully, this can just get stronger.  Especially with the streaming options.  I think with Disney+ we truly are going to see this idea live to the fullest, exploring the stories in the format that serves them best.

Secret Invasion:  I know this will be the start of phase 4, but you can really look at it as the start of the third arc for the Marvel story.  Arc 1 runs from Iron Man to the Avengers.  It really reflects the founding of the Avengers.  Arc 2 runs from the Avengers through Avengers 4.  It's the build up of the Infinity Stones leading to Thanos in Infinity War.  There needs to be a shift in this upcoming phase/arc to have a different kind of approach.  A new macguffin and a singular new bad guy would just feel repetitive.  I would go with Secret Invasion.  This would allow for a completely different style of subplot that allows for a freer exploration in each individual movie, while still providing some great HOLY S^&*!!!!! moments and reveals.  Plus, the closing Avengers movie for it would be fantastic.

I still want Secret Invasion for the overarching theme for the next big chapter of the MCU, just because it would be a different macguffin from Thanos (a single big bad building toward) and could lead to a series of intriguing reveals.  I have heard other ideas about Kang given Act 2 of Endgame and that could be very interesting.

Fantastic Four: What better way to celebrate MCU Phase 4 and the integration of Fox into the Disney studios, than by adding Marvel's First Family to the film slate. I really want to seen the FF finally done well on the big screen and really need to have Dr. Doom presented as intended.  The best Marvel villain finally in the MCU - it's a no brainer.

Keep the X-men out: This will be an unpopular opinion, but I'm completely okay with keeping the X-men in their own sandbox.  The X-Universe and the metaphors it explores are a little hard to square with full integration into the Marvel Universe.  Why do mutants get mistreated when others who get their powers through accidents are celebrated, etc.?  I'd rather see a reinvigorated X-Universe and a thriving MCU, than needlessly trying to integrate them clumsily now.

I still do not know what is coming, and Marvel is being very tight lipped after what follows Spider-man: Far From Home.  I am definitely still there for the ride.  I'm all in.


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