The population of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is about to grow dramatically because of the Walt Disney Co.’s (NYSE: DIS) planned acquisition of 21st Century Fox (NYSE: FOX).
Many key Marvel Comics characters have been absent from the MCU because the movie rights to them were sold off separately in 1990s. Marvel kept the comic rights to the X-Men for example but sold the movie rights. That is why Wolverine and Captain American can team up in the comics but on the silver screen.
All that is about to change because Fox owns the movie rights to a batch of Marvel’s A-list characters. Since Disney also owns Marvel it might soon be possible for those characters to appear the MCU movies.
New Faces we might soon see in the Marvel Cinematic Universe include:
The Wolverine – From a commercial standpoint, Logan is the biggest Marvel character at Fox. He’s basically the second most popular Marvel hero after Spider-Man. More importantly, Wolverine is a proven moneymaker having been subject of three big-budget movies and countless graphic novels.
Plus: a hugely popular character with a great look.
Drawback: One actor; Hugh Jackman, basically owns the role. Nobody knows if Jackman would put on the claws again. Hugh himself has said no, but he’s also expressed interest in appearing in an Avengers movie. Having Jackman’s Wolverine as an Avenger would be a smart move that fans would love.
A Disney paycheck might change that; big money convinced Daniel Craig to be James Bond one more time, but Jackman might be too old to play a credible Wolverine (the character is supposed to be immortal) which leads to a bigger problem. The public has historically proven reluctant to accept new actors as superheroes, there has not been a successful Superman film since Christopher Reeve hung up the cape, and the post Christian Bale Batman has been a flop.
The X-Men – This is a certainty because there are numerous movie TV and movie possibilities here. A smart move would be Netflix series based on characters like Rogue and Gambit, Professor Xavier, Storm, Kitty Pryde, the Starjammers, or Cyclops. A logical movie tie-in would be to have The Guardians of the Galaxy appear in the planned Dark Phoenix movie which is scheduled for a November 2018 release. Another would be an X-Men vs. Avengers movie.
The New Mutants – This long-running series about a group of teenaged mutants who are X-men in training would be a natural for a Netflix series. One possibility would be to have the same actor play Professor Xavier; who is the New Mutants’ schoolmaster, in both the movies and the show. The movie X-Men could guest star from time to time. Crossovers with Spider-Man would also make a lot of sense.
The Fantastic Four – Marvel’s first super team might work as a light-hearted romp like Guardians of the Galaxy. A good move would be to have the Four appear in a Guardians, Avengers, Black Panther, or Spider-Man film before going out on their own. An interesting possibility suggested by the comics would be to have the Human Torch, a teenaged member of the Four, as a student at Spiderman’s high school or college.
The Thing – Benjamin J. Grimm is the most popular member of the Fantastic Four with a long history of successful solo appearances. A fascinating way to introduce the Thing to the MCU is to have him in Luke Cage, Daredevil, Agents of SHIELD, or Jessica Jones. Intriguing possibilities are raised by the She-Hulk, a Fantastic Four member rumored for Netflix release. Another fun idea would be a Thing Netflix series; based on the old Marvel Two in One comic, in which he teamed up with almost every other Marvel hero. Since the Thing is also a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy possibilities are raised for a crossover there as well.
Dr. Doom – Marvel’s top villain has a great look and fearsome power. His role as the dictator of a European nation can lead to some fascinating plot twists. Doom also has a logical long-time rivalry with Iron Man, i.e.both are super geniuses that wear heavily weaponized battle armor. A possibility would be to have Doom show up in an Avengers or Iron Man movie before clashing with the Fantastic Four. Doom would give the Iron Man movies, the one thing they’ve lacked – a truly fearsome and effective villain.
Galactus – This guy is arguably Stan Lee’s most inspired creation. He is a god-like villain a destroyer of worlds who is also sympathetic. That is Galactus is not actually evil, he simply eats inhabited planets to survive. It is not clear if such a high-concept character would work in a movie. Although, Marvel made a similar high-brow concept work with Ultron in the second Avengers film. A greater menace would be bad computer-generated imagery (CGI) which can make great villains look like silly cartoons.
Magneto – Another “A” list Marvel villain conspicuously absent from the MCU. Basically the X-Men’s enemy but he has clashed with Thor, the Avengers, and Captain America on occasion. One interesting plot twist is that Magneto is the father of the Avengers the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver and the Vision’s father-in-law (makes for interesting Thanksgiving dinners). A potential problem for Marvel is would the public accept somebody besides Ian McKellen in the role? He basically owns the part. A fascinating idea would be a “Super-Villain Team-Up” with Dr. Doom and Magneto trying to get along or clashing.
The Silver Surfer – Another “high-concept” character that might work in a special effects extravaganza. He is a key enemy of Thanos, whose presence in the MCU is well-established. Whether such a space-faring adventure is possible even with today’s special effects is unknown. A big problem is that the Surfer’s story lacks many dramatic elements such as romance. Another is the menace of bad CGI which can turn a great character into a silly cartoon.
Cable – This character certainly has the look, and the heroic persona, audiences might respond to. He’s also had a long history interacting with other Marvel characters such as Captain America and Deadpool. One possibility would be as a replacement for Jackman’s Wolverine in a future X-men film. Cable has a long history with Deadpool, so that character’s films might be a great way to bring him into the MCU.
Captain Britain and Excalibur – Marvel’s British characters are generally considered part of the X-men’s franchise, although Captain Britain has history with Spider-man, The Avengers, and Captain America. They might work as a TV series or as supporting characters in movies. A possibility might be to have Captain Britain appear in a Captain America movie.
Deadpool – This guy seems like a natural for the MCU, appearing in R-rated movies obviously patterned after it. One advantage is that the public knows who Deadpool is. A logical move would be to have Deadpool crop up in a Spider-Man or Captain America movie. Another is to have him “guest star” on one of the Netflix shows.
The Beast – Like the Wolverine he’s both an X-Man and an Avenger. Never properly used in the X-Men films the Beast might have the appropriate level of goofiness for an MCU movie appearance especially in Deadpool or Spiderman. Unlike Wolverine, the Beast was a long time Avengers member. He might give that team some of the silliness it needs.
The Submariner – Marvel’s first superhero and first mutant, has a great look. He is the Fantastic Four’s enemy, but an Avenger and part of Captain America’s backstory; the two fought the Nazis together in World War II. A fun possibility would be a movie about the Invaders, the superhero team Cap led during the Big One. The Submariner would make a great role for Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson and a good Avenger. His nasty arrogant attitude makes Prince Namor an obvious foil to guys like Captain America.
The She-Hulk – The MCU needs some strong female characters. The She-Hulk is certainly that, she’s larger than life, entertaining, and a great foil for serious male heroes. One thing about the She-Hulk is her refusal to be “normal” she loves being big green, and super-strong. Another is her brain, she’s a brilliant attorney. As a long-time Avenger and Fantastic Four member, she deserves a place in the MCU. The potential pitfall with this character is bad CGI which makes Thanos look so dreadful in Infinity War.
These characters are just the tip of the iceberg in characters that can be added to the MCU from Fox. Some intriguing possibilities include the Star Jammers (perfect rivals for the Guardians of the Galaxy), Wizard, the Trapster, the Mad Thinker, Kang the Conqueror, X-Factor, the original Human Torch, Blink, X-Force, Jubilee, the Hellfire Club, the Sentinels, Freedom Force, Mystique, the Blob, Sabretooth, the Skrulls, and the Shiar (who will appear in Dark Phoenix).