With Avengers: Endgame now in theaters, Marvel Studios has put a bow on the Infinity Saga and the first decade of their ambitious cinematic universe. Looking back on the 22 films I’m blown away by what an amazing accomplishment it is. They’ve somehow done the impossible and managed to create a cohesive world full of great characters that all ties together in a way never before attempted on film.
Now that they’ve closed that chapter of the story and several of the actors who portrayed the original Avengers have moved on, we’re left to wonder what’s next for this universe? We know a few of the movies that are coming, but not much beyond that. There’s a film in pre-production based on the relatively unknown group, The Eternals, as well as sequels coming for Spider-Man and the Black Panther. But what other new characters will be hitting the big screen during the next phase of the MCU? As a long time Marvel fan I’ve got a few ideas for who I’d like to see make their debut.
No other character that I can think of offers the potential for a more interesting new genre of Marvel movie than Jennifer Walters (aka She-Hulk). After a being gunned down by a crime boss seeking revenge against her policeman father, Jessica receives a blood transfusion from the only nearby person who is a match, her cousin Bruce Banner. Obviously in retrospect this was probably not a great idea and the process leaves her with his unique ability to turn green and smash things into itty bitty pieces. Luckily though she does not gain his inability to control his anger and her personality remains intact despite her towering green appearance. Her career as a criminal defense attorney (often representing other superpowered characters) would provide a great backdrop for an MCU legal drama, punctuated of course by some over the top superhero action. Think of it as A Few Good Men if Demi Moore could throw a tractor trailer a thousand feet in the air.
Miles Morales seems like a natural fit for the MCU for a number of reasons. First of all he’s the only character I can think of who has replaced an established secret identity of a popular superhero and been successful at it. Attempts have been made for years to bring in replacements for characters like Batman or Captain America and few (if any) have been as widely accepted as Miles has. Second, Spider-Man: Homecoming already established the fact that Miles exists within the MCU so it would seem like the groundwork has already been laid for him to make his eventual appearance. And finally, he’s already proven to be a popular character with his recent roles in both Insomniac’s Spider-Man video game and from his starring role in the wildly popular animated movie, Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse. So the stage is set for him to make a big splash when he inevitably hits the big screen in a future MCU film.
It would be easy to see a future film based on Namor, the Sub-Mariner as an attempt to cash in on the success of the recent (surprisingly good) Aquaman film. The two characters have much in common after all, with Namor also being the leader of the people of Atlantis and the child of a human father and Atlantian mother, but Namor actually made his comic book debut two years before Aquaman all the way back in 1939! He is often been portrayed as an enemy of the human race, seeking vengeance for the damage that mankind has inflicted on the oceans and the life that resides within it, but he predictably sees the error of his ways and ends up fighting on the side of good, joining forces with the likes of The Avengers, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four. Perhaps he could serve as the antagonist of the next Avengers movie, fighting against the new group of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes before eventually teaming up with them to defeat a larger threat.
One of the things that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is most know for is having a great sense of humor. Whether it’s the more comedic films like Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man or more serious affairs such as Endgame, all of their films do a brilliant job of breaking up the action and drama by making you laugh., and there isn’t a character better suited for an action/comedy flick than Simon Williams. Even though he started out as a supervillain, he’s mostly known for being a member of the West Coast Avengers and balancing his superhero day job with a career as a Hollywood action star. His smug attitude and near invulnerability could make for a hilarious film as he beats up the bag guys one moment and stops to sign autographs and take selfies the next. Marvel is at it’s best when it’s making us laugh, and with the right director and actor attached to the project, Wonder Man could be the next big star of the MCU.
Kang the Conqueror
With the threat of Thanos and the Infinity Stones in the rear view mirror, the MCU is going to need a new, powerful villain to take the stage to threaten humanity. Kang the Conqueror is one of The Avengers original foes, having appeared in issue #8 of the original comic series back in 1964, and he seems like just the right person to take them on in the next phase of the films. A time-traveler from the 31st century, Kang rules the future with an iron fist, but with the Earth of the future dying he decides to travel back to the present day to conquer an earlier timeline. While he may not have the superpowers that other villains possess, his access to advanced technology from the future makes him a formidable threat to anybody who crosses his path.
What about the X-Men and Fantastic Four?
With Disney’s acquisition of the Marvel characters previously held by Fox, it’s inevitable that we’ll be seeing the likes of Wolverine and Reed Richards in the MCU before too long. My guess is though that we won’t be seeing anything more than teases of those characters for several years. The X-Men movie franchise is (for better or worse) still pumping out sequels with both Dark Pheonix and The New Mutants arriving in the next year, and people still have a sour taste in their mouths from the last Fantastic Four reboot. So my guess is that Kevin Feige will let those characters lie for awhile longer before introducing them into his universe.