Wednesday, July 04, 2012

What Marvel Studios Should Do Next After "The Avengers"...

Marvel continues to dominate the market for superhero movies with the mega-epic The Avengers.  In a way, it was a mindblowing miracle for all those super heroes to be brought together in one awesome film.  Kudos for Marvel for setting it all up perfectly ever since they decided to produce their own films instead of licensing them to other studios, thus, finally establishing the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) – a shared universe or continuity among the Marvel movies, or, at least, by those produced by Marvel Studious.    So, what’s next after The Avengers?  Here are some opinions of mine on how Marvel Studios should proceed…

First, let’s enumerate some of the already announced upcoming films that will be produced by Marvel Studios, which means they will be within the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). On 2013, we will have Iron Man 3 and Thor 2, while the only sure movie as of now for 2014 is Captain America 2.  The Avengers 2 will either be on 2015 or 2016.  Though still not sure, Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man are the top two properties that are heavily rumored to be very likely made into movies. 
Now, let me share to you the timetable I prefer for “Phase 2”:
2013 – Iron Man 3, Thor 2, Ant-Man
2014 – Captain America 2, Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther
2015 – Incredible Hulk 2, Avengers 2

Marvel Studios currently has a “two films a year” policy, so my first suggestion is that they should make it a “three films a year” policy.  That would ensure that more ground would be covered for Avengers 2 to be set up with less time. 

There are no rumors yet for any other hero aside from War Machine that will make an appearance in Iron Man 3 (with the exception of Ant-Man being rumored of having an end-credit cameo to hype his own movie), so I guess the first hero we can assume that is going to be an upcoming member of the Avengers is US War Machine (who already made an appearance in Iron Man 2.  I was surprised he wasn’t used in The Avengers already).     

In Thor 2, a cameo appearance for a future Avenger should happen, like what was done with Hawkeye in the first Thor movie.  Maybe Valkyrie?  With her connection with Asgard, this is feasible.  How about Spider-Woman?  Tigra?  Hercules?  Namor?  Wonder Man? 
If they can start production later this year, an Ant-Man movie could come out by December next year.  In Ant-Man, the Wasp should be introduced (I’ve always maintained the opinion that Ant-Man and the Wasp should have been in the Avengers instead of Hawkeye and Black Widow.  But better late than never).  And, maybe, even Ultron and the Vision, too.  Hank Pym creates Ultron (establishing him as the villain of this movie) and then Ultron creates the Vision.  Also, how about Scott Lang?  Scott could be the protégé of Pym in this movie, and in the end, Lang would inherit the Ant-Man persona while Pym would settle as Giant-Man or Yellowjacket.  Excited to see a scene like this in the Ant-Man movie:
In Captain America 2, it’s rumored that Bucky will return as the Winter Soldier.  I also want for Falcon (a consistent ally of Cap) to make an appearance here – but it’s not an imperative.

The production of a Guardians of the Galaxy film would expand the MCU greatly.  Aside from the fact that it will give exposure to non-Avengers related characters, a Guardians of the Galaxy movie would also explore the trademark galactic environment of the Marvel Universe.  Take note that Thanos had already made a cameo in Avengers, so it’s perfectly set up for him to become the villain in this movie.  Moreover, the best thing about this movie is we will see Rocket Raccoon in the big screen!

Another Marvel property that is being rumored to have a movie being made on is Black Panther.  And I believe that producing a Black Panther movie is a genius idea.  He’s actually one of the most awesome Avengers ever.  And I really can see him as someone that has what it takes to share the spotlight with the Big 4 of Avengers (Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, and Captain America).   And if Marvel Films manages to get permission from Fox, the owner of the license to produce X-Men films, Storm – being Black Panther’s wife and co-Avenger – could make an appearance… but more about licensing issues later.

And before they release Avengers 2 in the summer of 2015, an Incredible Hulk 2 movie should serve as “appetizer”.  I would really want Joe Fixit – the Gray Hulk – to make an appearance here.  This movie should also introduce She-Hulk and the villain should be Red Hulk, who will, in the end, see his wrongdoing and will be held under Avengers’ custody.  Then in the Avengers 2 movie, he will have his redemption by significantly aiding the Avengers on what crisis they would face in that movie.

So then, in Avengers 2, we can have US War Machine, Wonder Man (or Valykyrie, or Spider-Woman), Ant-Man (or Giant-Man/Yellowjacket), the Wasp, the Vision, Ant-Man (Scott Lang), Winter Soldier, Falcon, Black Panther, and She-Hulk (or Red Hulk) to augment the roster.  The roster is now crowded, unlike the first movie which only had six Avengers.  So the challenge for the writers is to utilize all of them so well that everybody would have their moments.  I don’t mean all should shine equally in the movie.  Premium Avengers will shine the most, of course. But the rest of the Avengers should not be mere background characters; each one should be significantly remembered.

After Avengers 2, we proceed to a “Phase 3”.  I have no clear timetable suggestion for Phase 3, but the films after Avengers 2 should set up TWO Avenger movies for 2018 or, better, 2017.  It is imperative for A Heroes for Hire (Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson and Jason Statham are perfect to play Luke Cage and Iron Fist, respectively... especially “the Rock” as Luke Cage.  Just perfect!) movie and a Dr. Strange movie to be made in this period.  And more importantly, Marvel Studios should find a way that will allow them to use characters – X-Men, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Daredevil – that were licensed to other studios (20th Century Fox, Sony, Columbia).  They can buy back the licenses or co-produce the movie with these studios… I don’t care what they do, as long as they get it done!

For 2018 (or 2017), as I’ve said, two Avengers movies should be made.  The first is a Secret Avengers movie.  To those of you who aren’t aware of the “Secret Avengers”, this is the black ops arm of the Avengers.  The roster I’m picturing for this movie is going to be made up of something like this: Captain America, Shang-Chi, Beast, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Valkyrie, War Machine, Sharon Carter (should be introduced in Captain America 2 or 3), Ant-Man, and Venom (will explain this later).  Captain America’s going to be the leader… or Hawkeye, if there is no Cap in the movie roster.  This is going to be a darker movie than the usual Avengers movie, because, remember, this is a black ops strike team.  Thus, they need to operate secretly, coldly, and detached.  I.e. plenty of killing.
Let me first explain about Venom being on the team.  If Marvel Studios managed to work together with Columbia, they can produce first a Venom movie prior to Secret Avengers.  But before even that, Venom should be the villain in The Amazing Spider-Man 3, where Spidy would don the black symbiote first, and then after he gets rid of it, it would find Eddie Brock (much like what happened in Spider-Man 3, but cooler and more badass… and no Sandman.  Just pure Spider-Man vs. Venom).  After Spidy beats Venom and the authorities contained/capture him, the post-credit scene will show how some government figures (maybe those shadowy figures that Nick Fury was reporting to in The Avengers) are talking of using it for the military.  In Venom, it will show how the government project on the symbiote went through.  It’s going to be an origin movie on how Flash was chosen to be the operative to host the symbiote.  Eddie Brock could come back as Anti-Venom and be the villain in this movie.  Or Carnage.  Spider-Man could cameo.  In the end scene, Flash could become unstable, which will lead to him being captured by an Avengers containment crew consisting of Red Hulk, Beast, Giant-Man, Captain America, and Thor (lightning to finally subdue the symbiote).  In a post-credits scene, Flash offered to be supervised by the Avengers.   

Yeah, I really like this current Venom.  And I really really want him to be put into the big screen and in the roster of a Secret Avengers movie. 

The second Avengers movie for 2018 (or 2017) is New Avengers.  The movie should follow a similar plot of the “New Avengers” episode of The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes animated series:  the Avengers team was thought to be dead (but were actually only displaced in space-time), so a new Avengers team replaced them to save the day for that episode.  The same way, in the movie, the members of the roster in the first three Avengers movies are neutralized – either they were captured by the enemies or was thought to be killed (but will be revealed to be alive in the end).  So a new set of Avengers are assembled to save the captured original Avengers or/and save the world from a threat.  The line-up is going to be made up of Spider-Man, Wolverine, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Daredevil, Dr. Strange, Ms. Marvel, and the Thing.  Daredevil could be a reboot, or Ben Afleck can reprise the role.  But Wolverine should definitely be played by Hugh Jackman.  The design for the Thing in this movie should be more badass than the silly one in the FF movies.  In the climax, the original Avengers are rescued or revealed to be alive, and together with the New Avengers, they fight the enemies in one epic final battle – the greatest battle sequence ever made in movie history! 

I have no more ideas for a “Phase 4”.  Maybe Marvel Studios can end the saga with New Avengers and start anew.  Or they can go on, but I’ve no more clear and solid fantasies for beyond New Avengers.    

And maybe by 2018, DC finally catches up with Marvel in doing superhero movies and by then, a Justice League movie is finally made.  And then an Avengers vs. Justice League movie will be done on 2020. 

OK, all of these are just farfetched fantasies of mine.  Not really feasible.  But I can dream, right?  Still, thinking of the possibilities – though unlikely to happen – makes the geek in me totally excited.  

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