Kevin Feige has famously said that Marvel Studios already has plans through 2028. With the roster of heroes Marvel still has left, we can believe it. This is Part five of a five part series. Part 1 is the Marvel Retro Realm. Part 2 the Marvel Horror Realm. Part 3 is the Marvel Cosmic Realm. Part 4 is the Marvel Espionage Realm.
We’ve talked before about how pivotal the Inhumans are to the MCU’s future. Thus far, all of Marvel’s heroes have been highly trained warriors or super-intelligent geniuses, and with SPIDER-MAN excepted, all of their future heroes will be in the same vein. Though Marvel Studios has defined itself with world-famous superheroes, the best Marvel Comics have featured much more intimate stories and heroes. There haven’t really been any civilian heroes in the MCU, characters who are trying to make a difference in the world while still living a normal life.
The Inhumans are Marvel’s chance to introduce street-level superpowers to the MCU. Instead of creating superpowers to threaten the world, Marvel can create smaller superheroes with more personal stories. We don’t think all of the heroes on this list must be Inhuman, but if INHUMANS makes superpowers a lot more common, then why not bring these characters along for the ride?
Ms. Marvel celebrates her first birthday this month, and the character has been an absolute sensation for Marvel. Kamala Khan is a Pakistani American teenager just trying to live a normal life in New Jersey. However, she’s a huge superhero fan, in particular idolizing Captain Marvel. When Kamala discovers that she is an Inhuman and possesses shapeshifting superpowers, she decides to adopt one of Danvers’ old superhero names and begin fighting crime as Ms. Marvel. Sales of the comics have been astonishing; the first issue is in its 7th printing, and she’s Marvel’s “#1 digital seller.” Though Kamala Khan is Marvel’s youngest hero, she’s one of their most wildly popular.
Given how much Marvel loves supporting heroes and sidekicks, Ms. Marvel is virtually assured to appear on film, probably sooner than later. We could see her debuting in a CAPTAIN MARVEL sequel before spinning off into her own film series. The plot would probably be mostly original, though we’d love to see The Inventor fly onto film.
Our biggest hope is that MS. MARVEL would feature heroes like Captain Marvel, Black Panther & Hulk, even if only in small roles. Like Spider-Man, half of the joy of Ms. Marvel is watching her infectiously bounce off more stoic Marvel heroes.
Hell, with Spider-Man himself joining the MCU, a SPIDER-MAN/MS. MARVEL team-up film might be the best idea ever.
Cloak and Dagger are two of the oddest heroes in Marvel’s pantheon. At first appearance, they don’t seem like much: two teens with punny names and a pretty obvious dark/light motif. But unlike most other heroes, Cloak and Dagger aren’t above killing their enemies, and their powers make them as deadly as any super villain. Tyrone Johnson, alias Cloak, has the ability to open portals to the Darkforce Dimension, a shadowy realm draining people of their life-force. But he suffers a deficiency in his own life-force, and uses the Darkforce to feed himself to stay alive. Tandy Bown, AKA Dagger, is the opposite; she produces an excess of life-force, which manifests as blinding light she can project as weapons. But if she doesn’t release her own life force, it runs the risk of killing her.
Obviously Tandy “feeds” her excess life-force to Tyrone. Though the two are symbiotic, there’s nuance to their relationship. They’re both teenagers, often homeless and unloved by the world around them. They fall in love, but when they inevitably fall out of love, it’s not like they can just part ways. They need each other, for better or worse. There’s a tragedy to Tandy and Tyrone, knowing that they’ll spend their whole lives together, and when the first dies, the second won’t be far behind.
Years ago, CLOAK AND DAGGER was being developed as a series at ABC Family, set in a post-Katrina New Orleans. In the comics, Cloak & Dagger get their powers from a pharmaceutical experiment. Appropriately, since Cloak and Dagger debuted in the pages of Spider-Man, we would love if the pair got their powers through drugs from Spider-Man’s greatest foe, Norman Osborn. It would be a way of introducing Norman Osborn to the MCU without becoming yet another Goblin film. It would also give Osborn a much larger scope in the MCU than Spider-Man alone; he’s a villain big enough to take on almost any hero. Osborn is just the type of corporate pharmaceutical slimeball that Tyrone and Tandy are best at fighting.
Even though generally speaking, Marvel has lighthearted adventures, all of their films and TV series are firmly dramas. More than anything else, we’ve been antsy for Marvel to finally sit down and just make a sitcom.
She-Hulk initially seems like one of the least necessary heroes in the Marvel Universe. The Hulk’s Distaff Counterpart and the last Marvel creation of Stan Lee, She-Hulk started life as Jennifer Walters, Bruce Banner’s cousin who also transforms into a savage rage monster. But early in She-Hulk’s career, John Byrne reworked the character into a sharp-tongued green-skinned lawyer. Byrne’s THE SENSATIONAL SHE-HULK is a blast, maybe Marvel’s funniest series, skewering superheroes, pop culture, and even the authors themselves. Throughout the decades, She-Hulk has lead some of Marvel’s most joyful and fun series. For cinematic adaptations, Jennifer Walters is absolutely Marvel’s greatest untapped character.
As far as a SHE-HULK TV series? We’d want it to be the most meta, self-aware Single Female Lawyer series ever. She-Hulk puts the Serpent Society behind bars, only to be asked to represent them in court! She-Hulk causes an international incident after beating up a member of the Inhuman Royal Family. She-Hulk is sued by Iron Man… for sexual harassment! She-Hulk is forced to mentor her niece, but ends up learning the most valuable lesson of all. She-Hulk quits being a lawyer and opens a bar! We want every single hoary sitcom cliche dusted off and thrown at Jennifer Walters.
Throughout this series, we’ve talked about a lot of Marvel heroes and teams that we’d like to see in the MCU. Though we love every character listed, there are quite a few we doubt actually show up in the MCU anytime soon. So we’d like to end the series focusing on one team who not only should appear soon, but barely missed appearing back in 2012…
Runaways hold the dubious distinction of being the only film that Marvel Studios has canned. It had a director, a screenwriter, and even began auditioning actors. Marvel even managed to pull off a racially-based casting controversy, like a proper superhero movie. Sadly, Marvel cancelled the film, focusing all its attention on THE AVENGERS. It’s a shame, because RUNAWAYS is the most exciting superhero concept Marvel’s produced in decades: what would you do if you found out your parents were actually supervillains?
A RUNAWAYS film should adapt the first comic arc, straight from page to screen. A group of kids discover that their parents are the leaders of a syndicate called “The Pride,” who rule criminal activities all along the west coast of the United States. The Pride has begun expanding into mystical operations, with potentially devastating results. The Runaways consist of…
- Alex Wilder, the son of mafia bosses and a genius at strategic planning;
- Nico Minoru, the daughter of wizards and magically adept herself;
- Chase Stein, the hooligan son of mad scientists who steals high-tech weaponry from his parents;
- Karolina Dean, the daughter of alien invaders who discovers her solar-based powers;
- Gertrude Yorkes, the daughter of time-traveling criminals, and the owner of a pet dinosaur;
- Molly Hayes, the daughter of mutants (likely Inhumans in the film) who has super-strength powers of her own.
The kids run away from their parents, learning about their own abilities and heritages along the way. Though they go to the police, and even try to contact the Avengers, nobody believes them. Eventually, the kids realize that if no one else will stop their parents from wiping out humanity, the Runaways will have to do it themselves.
Joss Whedon wrote a run of the RUNAWAYS comic series after creator Brian K. Vaughan stepped away. Though Whedon might be done with THE AVENGERS after AGE OF ULTRON, that doesn’t mean he has to be done with Marvel altogether. If Whedon wants a smaller, more personal film, Marvel could find few better properties for him to helm than RUNAWAYS.
Which of your favorite superheroes did we miss? Sound off on Twitter or in the comments below.