A long time ago, on a server far far away, Mike and I posted an article entitled What Next For Marvel? We used it to highlight four potential characters (or groups of characters) that could (or should) have been on Marvel’s radar to be added to the MCU.
Mike nailed his choices, writing about Doctor Strange and Iron Fist. I was not quite so on the ball with my features on Nova and Namor but, hey, two out of four ain’t bad right?
Anywho, we thought it was long overdue that we revisited this and gave it another bash. So, without further ado, we present our latest selections.
-Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan)-
Who is she?
Kamala Khan is a Muslim American teenager growing up in Jersey City who gains superpowers when a terrigen mist activates inhuman genes in her DNA. She is also a massive superhero nerd who idolises Carol Danvers, and decides to take on the Ms. Marvel name in tribute to her idol. As for powers, she can extend or shrink her form (think Jake the Dog from Adventure Time) and has a limited healing factor.
Why it would work?
A spunky teen who is just as big of a nerd as we are? What’s not to like? Khan could be one of MCU’s most loveable characters. In some cases pop-culture references feel forced and knowing but they don’t with Khan; they feel natural and organic to the character so there is plenty of scope to make a Ms. Marvel movie as funny and irreverent as it is serious and I’d love to see a starstruck Kamala Khan freaking out at meeting Captain America, Iron Man or Danvers. To be fair the pop-culture references aren’t that prevalent; more like Khan takes the time out to comment on how awesome/scary it is that she is living a life of somebody from her most far-fetched fan-fiction.
Some may say a teenager struggling to balance family responsibilities and high school pressures at the same as battling crime is old-hat, but it is because it works and under the pen of G. Willow Wilson it’s a format fully revamped for the 21st century. There is so much potential drama in a girl as much afraid to let down her strict parents or miss a test as she is to go toe-to-toe with a super villain.
Why wouldn’t it work?
If there is a drawback it is that Khan, as yet, does not have a definitive or overly memorable villain to see her pitted against. The Inventor is…well he’s a clone of Thomas Edison whose DNA has been spliced with a Cockatiel. Exactly.
However, Antman had a relatively inconsequential plot and still worked, and for an origin film as much could be done to establish her character, her humour and the struggles of being a teenager in modern America and keeping her identity secret amongst a close-knit family unit without a significant world-threatening villain.
The Verdict | Kamala Khan could easily become one of Marvel’s most endearing big screen characters; the little sister everyone wishes they had. From a purely business sense, her solo comic is very popular and Marvel should want to capitalise on the property’s popularity while its still hot. They gained loads of mainstream attention when they made Kamala Khan their first Muslim character to lead their own comic book and they could ride that sort of publicity again if they give her her own movie. The only doubts are whether she is a big enough (shape shifting pun intended) to carry her own franchise.
-Moon Knight (Marc Spector)-
Who is he?
A former heavyweight boxer and U.S. Marine, Spector – along with his best friend Jean-Paul “Frenchie” DuChamp – work as mercenaries. While on a job in Africa, Spector is left for dead after engaging in personal combat with another merc named Raoul Bushman. At the moment of his death, the Egyptian God of the Moon Khonshu appears before him and offers him a second shot at life as his avatar.
Over the years there have been many tweaks to his powers and abilities, but it is generally agreed that Spector is one of four personalities inhabiting his body (Spector, Moon Knight, entrepreneur Steven Grant and taxi driver Jake Lockley). Powers wise, Spector has superhuman strength, endurance and reflexes that are linked to the phases of the moon (the fuller the moon, the stronger he is).
Why it would work?
There is so much potential in the character! Handled correctly, Marvel could introduce a very interesting, three-dimensional addition to the MCU. Spector is a conflicted man, constantly battling between doing justice and exacting vengeance, all the while trying to manage a multiple personality disorder. If this doesn’t scream “gritty Netflix series” I don’t know what does!
In fact, an aspect of the personality disorder could lead to an interesting take – is Khonshu real, or is he just someone Spector made up to keep himself alive? That right there has the potential for an excellent, multi-layered storyline.
On a more superficial level, Moon Knight has a very unique, iconic (and marketable)look that could easily translate well to screen. After all, the guy is basically a halfway house between Batman and The Punisher, with a background in Egyptian mythology thrown in to boot.
Why it wouldn’t work?
If handled incorrectly, he could be seen as simply a serious version of Deadpool, which would lead people to just watch that instead.
While undoubtedly cool as hell in the comics, Moon Knight certainly has the look of a comic book character – it may struggle to translate to screen when Marvel is trying its absolute best to ground as many of their characters in reality (Thor aside, I guess).
He may simply be too ‘small’ of a name to consider – there are plenty of characters in Marvel’s repertoire that (while not as inherently interesting, from this writer’s point of view), are more household names and could be seen to be waiting in queue for their call up.
The Verdict | His chances are probably 50/50. There’s a rumour doing the rounds that Marvel are considering a second collection of interlinked series in the same vein as Daredevil’s. Moon Knight has been name dropped as one of the potential characters to be used (along with Blade and Ghost Rider). As for whether Moon Knight would make a good film or television series? It certainly gets a thumbs up from us.
-Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew)-
Who is she?
Interestingly, Drew has had three different origin stories. Stan Lee admits he only created her out of fear that D.C would do Spider-Woman first; and her original appearance was only ever intended as a one-off simply to establish trademark. She was a spider evolved into a woman but this was retconned almost immediately. Drew is a English born girl whose family moves to the fictional Eastern European country of Transia where she succumbs to Uranium poisoning. To save her life, her father injects her with a serum created from spider’s blood, and you can probably guess what the result was.
She was given her own series in the late seventies, but it was cancelled a few years later after which she became a forgotten character for a long time until writer Brian Michael Bendis revived her (along with other forgotten heroes like Luke Cage and Iron Fist) for a spot in The New Avengers in 2005. A new ‘Origins’ series was also launched for the character, which changed some details of her backstory: now her pregnant mother was hit by a laser beam containing DNA traits of several spider species.
She possesses super strength, and the ability to channel her bioelectric energy into Venom Blasts which can stun or even kill. She can adhere to almost any surface and quickly forms an immunity to toxins and poisons and can give off a pheromone to “attract” males and repulse females. Later on she also develops the ability to fly, because she does.
Why it would work?
Spider-Woman’s comic stories have been a cocktail of spy adventures, science-fiction, private investigator work and good old-fashioned Superhero antics, so Marvel have a rich back catalogue of material to treasure pick from and to suit a range of tones and styles. She also fits easily into their current stable of films – she’s best friends with Carol Danvers, AKA Ms. Marvel who is getting her own film, she’s been an Avenger, so if Marvel wish to pad out that roster they could lead her in with her own stand-alone film as they did with the original Avengers line-up, and with Spider-Man getting his own Marvel movie (at long last) there is an obvious opportunity to set her up as well.
She is currently enjoying a critically acclaimed solo comic series written by Dennis Hopeless (great name) and Marvel gained a lot of publicity late last year when the series returned off hiatus to find Drew eight months pregnant: As with Kamala Khan, Marvel may want to strike while the iron is hot.
Why wouldn’t it work?
Her versatility as a character could also be her downfall: There are already plenty of powered heroes, Black Widow already has the MCU spy angle covered, Netflix’s Jessica Jones is about a P.I and while she has definite links to the Avengers and to Ms. Marvel, executives could easily see her as being a support character across the MCU rather than a franchise leader. She was briefly a bounty hunter though, which could be an interesting direction for Marvel Studios to take her in. As a result of her original 1970’s run featuring a revolving door of writers, her personality is less well defined than a lot of other comic heroes – incoherent would be another way to describe it.
The Verdict | A Spider-Woman big screen outing is likely with her links to so many of the established MCU characters, but whether or not she gets her own solo adventure or not is open to more debate. On one hand she would be easy to work into the current roster of heroes and her character is more of a blank slate for a talented team to have fun establishing; on the other she doesn’t do anything existing characters don’t and she could prove to be too much of a blank slate to warrant her own feature.
Who are they?
Marvel’s first ever all-female Avengers team. Initially hailing from a matriarchal Battleworld nation called Arcadia, the team is brought into the standard Earth-616 universe by the events of Secret Wars. The (now seemingly settled) team currently consists of Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers), She-Hulk, mutant Dazzler, sorceress Nico Minoru, the inhuman Medusa and a brand new cosmic character named Singularity.
Why it would work?
One thing Marvel has yet to do on the big screen is an all-female team up. Pressure has been steadily growing on the company to diversify the character range in the MCU and A-Force have the potential to do just that. The team has a pleasantly disparate array of personalities and powers, and while characters like She-Hulk and Captain Marvel are fairly well known, they wouldn’t necessarily overshadow their counterparts.
As the team is in its relative infancy, there isn’t much lore that any prospective writer/director would be beholden to. It is this freedom – and subject material – that may just tempt Joss Whedon back to the MCU. After experiencing a famously difficult time on Avengers: Age of Ultron, the creative cult favourite seemingly washed his hands of the studio. However, in a recent interview he hinted he would consider a return for something like an all female team up… and A-Force is pretty much the only team in town that fits the bill! Whedon has a good reputation for writing strong, kick-ass female protagonists, and you could bet safe money he’d make something worthwhile with this franchise.
A-Force would also allow for a host of talented actresses to get the top billing they rightfully deserve a crack at. We already know that the excellent Brie Larson has been closely linked with the role of Captain Marvel, but could you imagine her sharing a screen with the likes of, say, Tatiana Maslany, Katheryn Winnick, Rebecca Ferguson et al!?
Why wouldn’t it work?
While attitudes among cinemagoers have changed over the years, executives still seem reluctant to push female heavy casts at the comic book demographic. Hopefully this antiquated mindset will cease sooner rather than later, but it would still need Marvel to take a punt on them in the first place.
None of the characters are A-listers (though Captain Marvel could feasibly become one, and She-Hulk is certainly not an unknown). This I think is a minor point though – after all, the Guardians of the Galaxy were pretty much C-listers prior to their big screen outing. Similarly, Ant-Man (whilst an old character) rarely commands big comic book sales.
Certain characters may not make the cut. Dazzler, for example, is a mutant that originally debuted in Uncanny X-Men back in 1980. As it stands, Marvel has no deal with Fox, the latter of whom holds the rights to any X-Men related characters. Marvel may also be reluctant to include a Runaways members (Minoru) for if they decide make a go of the movie they shelved back in 2013. Similarly, Medusa is an inhuman, and those guys have seemingly been relegated to Agent of Shield.
The Verdict | While Marvel may have some hesitation with including certain characters (Dazzler is likely a no go at the very least), there is a well balanced team here. If Marvel can get the right director and cast together, then A-Force could well be the all-female superhero team up that the MCU needs.
What do you make of our choices this time around? Would you like to see Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, Spider-Woman and A-Force on the big screen? Which other Marvel characters would you like to see introduced to the MCU? Please comment below, or hit us up on Facebook or Twitter.