Happy Thanksgiving from MCUExchange to all the Marvelites out there. We sincerely hope that you are having an awesome day of food, football, and whatever other things your family does to celebrate the holiday. Given that it is a season for being thankful, I’ve come up with a little list of some MCU developments for which I’m thankful.
Inhumans is Coming in a Big (IMAX) Way
If you haven’t heard yet, Inhumans is coming to ABC next fall and IMAX screens before that. Since the moment I read Jenkins and Lee’s run on Inhumans, they have been my personal favorite property in the MCU. They have a quirky sense to them. Also, the stories deal with questions of leadership, power, and ethics. Black Bolt is literally capable of handling almost any conflict immediately, given the power of his voice, but is constantly debating if the use of fatality-inducing power is really the most moral or effective way to lead his people. While the introduction of Quake and others to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been fun, there is nothing like the royal family. While the episodes airing in IMAX aren’t exactly a movie, it will be nice to have four reasons to head to cinemas next year in the MCU. Speaking of which…
Marvel Studios is Ramping Up Their Output
Just a few short years ago, fans would stroll into a movie like Avengers and then leave theaters with literally zero content coming their way for twelve long months. Those droughts of MCU material felt like an eternity. Fast forward to 2017 and things are happening almost every day. Films are coming in May, July, and November, with the Inhumans pilot in IMAX in September. Netflix has three shows scheduled, meaning likely one in March, one in the summer, and one in the fall. ABC is still producing episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which likely is coming back in February or March and running 14 more episodes. Runaways on Hulu has been a bit quiet as of late, but likely debuts in 2017. To recap, that’s three films and as many as six television shows. Patience may be a virtue, but it’s less needed than ever.
The Casts of Black Panther and Luke Cage
This story is really the story of two hashtags: #OscarsSoWhite and #BlackPantherSoLit. 2016 began with significant concern over how few opportunities and how little recognition non-white actors get in Hollywood. That narrative continued in the MCU world with the criticism of the casting decisions in Doctor Strange and Iron Fist. I don’t want to rehash those debates today, but it is such a welcome and joyous thing to see Black Panther cast so many strong thespians from African or African-American backgrounds. It seems like Marvel Studios keeps piling on talent into that film, all directed by the awesome Ryan Coogler. On the Netflix side, Luke Cage already has shown the amazing vibe and art that comes from such a cast. Personally, I grew up as a white kid in a pretty white suburb, so watching Luke Cage was fascinating, and also a little foreign. It just wasn’t a show in an idiom I’m familiar with, but I loved it. It struck me that I probably was feeling a bit of the disconnect my minority friends feel all the time watching TV shows coming from a largely white creative team. The diversity Marvel is trying to bring into their process is awesome. We all benefit from the diversity of voices coming into the universe.
Embracing the Weird
When X-Men came out in 2000, I was terrified it was going to tank. I’d been waiting for a Marvel movie for so long and deep down inside I just knew the world at large would hate it. This was my one shot to see the characters I loved on the big screen. Obviously, it’s worked out quite the opposite way. Fans should remember that only eight years ago people questioned if a “B level” hero like Iron Man could lead a franchise. Billions of dollars later fans are seeing Kurt Russel play Ego the Living Planet and Oscar-nominated Chiwetel Ejiofor whipping around the Staff of the Living Tribunal. If all goes right, Lockjaw will be in IMAX before our very eyes. Comic movies are not only tolerated, but they have a largely blank check. No one is saying, “that’s too weird” or “tone down the comics stuff” anymore. Comic enthusiasts worldwide are taking over the cultural landscape. If comic films could only exist by toning things down, replacing costumes with leather suits, removing mysticism or supernatural events, and a whole host of other ways to water down the product, it would be ok but a little sad. Instead, comic fans are getting so much content and are getting it in fantastically faithful ways to the source material. The likes of Angela Basset, Tilda Swinton, Sigourney Weaver, and Forrest Whitaker are lining up to be part of the universe. Actors with such a profile a few years back might have scoffed at a “comic” movie, but now they are excited to be part of the fun.
We really are living in the golden age of comic book films. It may not last forever, so we should all take advantage of it and revel in the success while we can. 2017 is shaping up to be the biggest comic film and TV show year in the history of humanity. Looking forward to some heaping portions of MCU next year, as well as a few servings of mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce today. Again, a happiest of Thanksgivings to you and yours!