The Forge: Putting up something Fantastic as we look at the possibilities for Marvel’s phase 4

Every fan of the comic book genre has their particular hero or heroine that they cheer for or want to see make the jump to the silver screen. For me I have Thor, who is one of my favourite characters in all of the Marvel comics, right beside Wolverine. Over in DC I am a huge fan of Wonder Woman and Big Barda due to their warrior nature, much like that of Thor. Alas, for each of these characters I get to enjoy on-screen, minus Barda obviously, there are five I personally want to see on the big screen in the upcoming phase four of Marvel’s cinematic universe. We will also take a quick look at some potential TV shows that, in my mind, would make for excellent stories to spread out over eight to thirteen hours.

Before jumping into what we want, lets first look at what we have, because it is a lot. Marvel has been steadily ramping up their production and we are getting three movies this year, next year, and potentially three movies for the foreseeable future. Add to this fact that phase three looks to be the first phase that gives us more than six movies, as the first and second rounds of the MCU were both six films apiece. With this in mind, lets look at what I believe will be the line up for this stage of Marvel’s world domination. Some of these are at the end of 2019, which I think will fall into phase four, and add them to my speculation section.

  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  • Spider-man: Homecoming
  • Thor: Ragnarok
  • Black Panther
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Ant-man and the Wasp
  • Captain Marvel
  • Untitled Avengers Movie*

Eight movies over the next two and a half years is quite the tall order. We have the potential for universe ending devastation in Guardians, Ragnarok AND both Avengers films, not to mention any potential inter-planetary conflicts from Captain Marvel. We also have smaller scale conflicts in Black Panther with potential war in Wakanda along with the big, or small depending on how you look at it, hi-jinks that Ant-man and the Wasp get into. Oh, and Peter might lose his homework while swinging across the city to school, but that’s a low-key problem. Those of you who know the current announced line up might notice that I have not included Spider-man: Homecoming 2, and that’s because I think it is going to be the start of phase four, and the start of the fallout from the Untitled avengers movie. That being said, with all of these great films to look forward to already, what six movies could possibly be waiting for us in the waning light of 2019? **Potential spoilers for infinity war as my knowledge of the comic’s will come into play a bit here**

Spider-man: Homecoming 2

Spiderman Homecoming 2

To me, this just makes perfect sense, as we are coming off the hard-fought victory over Thanos, spoiler alert the MCU doesn’t end in 2019, and now the repercussions of that fight, any potential deaths, or changes to reality due to the infinity gauntlet’s power and the person/persons who wield it. Bringing the universe point of view back down to a very personal level with Peter Parker also allows the rest of the movies in phase four to get the reset they need. It’s hard to care when the world/universe is always the macguffin to save.

The other reason I think this is likely is that we get to see Peter either in his final year of highschool, or his first year of college, which adds a whole new dynamic to the character, as his greater work load will affect his superhero life and vice versa. I also personally hope the story line they go with is the Kraven the Hunter arc: Kraven’s Last Hunt.

Fantastic Four

fantastic four logo

Yes I am one of those people. While it may be a long shot, especially with the rumours of a second one being developed by Fox, I still have faith that the lack of interest in their studio’s attempts will make them give up any plans they might have, and allow the rights to revert back to Marvel. Fox’s repeated mishandling of the First Family has been nothing short of disastrous, and if they could get back into the hands of the MCU I see great things able to happen.

While to some, it might make sense for F4 to be the first movie of phase four, I think it actually makes more sense for them to come second, as they can expand upon the multiverse nature of the MCU, and gives them a brand new foothold to branch off from. Whether it’s knowing the characters in a different light, or simply meeting heroes who were never in their version of earth leaves open a lot of story options. Frankly if this does happen, I put money on the Hulk being their nemesis for the first movie, to mirror the times in the comics where they have fought.

Nova/Nova Corp

Nova

This might seem like an odd choice, as many don’t know who this character is and the Nova Corp only played a small role in the initial Guardian’s movie. As a intergalactic police force, they serve as a great backdrop to any of the Marvel movies which take place in space, and the character of Nova in particular can be portrayed, and often was, as a “John McClane in space” kinda guy. His power set, and the exotic nature of foreign planets and species allows for a huge host of villains to fight.

My bet would be a story loosely based on the Annihlation story arc, which has a ton of characters in it, many of which Marvel can’t use one being the actual main villain, Annihilus. However a minor change to your antagonist, or if Marvel does get the rights back to this character it would make an incredible visual spectacle along the lines of the best parts of Guardians, and the incredible nature of Guardians 2.

Guardians of the Galaxy 3

Guardians of the Galaxy

This is a no brainer in my opinion. Not only has James Gunn said that Guardians 3 is on the docket, the likelihood of Guardians 2 being bad is about as likely the sun exploding by Christmas. With a growing cast of characters, GotG 3 will likely be another smash hit simply due to the cast’s excellent chemistry and the bombastic and fun nature that these movies portray.

I couldn’t even guess at what stories they would go forward with, as I don’t know the Guardians from the comic’s all that well, though if my speculations hold true, there could be a significant chance that Nova plays an integral part in their movie.

Black Widow

Black Widow

This is another movie which I think is a no brainer in phase four. As, currently, the biggest female hero within the Marvel universe Black Widow has been dying for a movie as she is a kick ass character who has so many stories to tell, not only from her past, but from any point throughout the latter two Captain America movies.

Personally, I would love to see her solo, but I would also be jazzed for her and Hawkeye as both actors have fantastic chemistry on-screen, and in my mind the back and forth they had when they were assassin’s seems like the best story to tell, as it finish’s with them both in S.H.I.E.L.D.

Namor the Submariner 

Namor-Sub-Mariner

This is my ‘long shot’ prediction, and I swing for those underwater fences because Namor is a FANTASTIC asshole character. Smug, narcissistic, and has little patience for idiots, Namor to me is a character that needs to be made. This also gives Marvel their analog to DC’s Aquaman, which is a character that is seeing a revival in popularity.

The problem with this, however is no one seems to know where the rights to Namor lay. It seems to be in limbo with Universal, Lionsgate and Marvel all somehow holding a piece of him. I will admit, I have no idea how this will get resolved, however when you’re wishlisting for a movie to get made, you try not to worry about these things.

Talking TV

While the movies are great, and any or all of my speculated movies being added to the slate would be fantastic, there is another place where we can get our Marvel fix. That comes in the form of MTVU or Marvel TV Universe and the Netflix universe. While Agent’s of S.H.I.E.L.D. is hit or miss, I personally like it, it is not the biggest market for our TV heroes. Netflix is where we see the biggest market with two seasons of Daredevil, a season of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. While Iron Fist was the first real stumble, we still have the Defenders coming as well as the highly anticipated Punisher series. Two other series, which I am not actually sure who is publishing, is the Cloak and Dagger series, and the Inhumans series. I believe Inhumans is ABC, but C&D is a series “cloaked” in mystery. Haha, terrible jokes are terrible. That said, Here are two series I would love to see, both preferably on Netflix or HBO simply because that affords them the budget and ability to show more mature subject matter.

Moon Knight

Netflix-Moon-Knight

While the allusions to Batman are very strong, Moon Knight is a brilliant character to bring to the small screen. Whether it sticks strictly with the origin of Moon Knight, or blends some of his later story arcs where his mental instability has started to come through. Unlike Deadpool, Marc Spector, the characters real name, is much more troubled which adds such complexity and depth to his character. In my mind The Bottom arc should be the material taken from.

This series not only deals with mental illness, but violence, hatred and how madness can slowly seep into a person, especially when being pushed to the limits, both mentally and physically, by their villains. The fight scenes in a series like this could be legendary.

The Ghost Rider

Ghost Rider

To me, the Ghost Rider is a must have and the longer they take to get his project off the ground, the more time they spend not making all of the money. While I am a fan of the Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider, I have been hearing a lot of great things about the new ghost rider, who appeared in Agents of Shield, Roberto “Robbie” Reyes. With a new look, new ride and a fantastic story to kick off on, Robbie could make the Netflix Marvel Universe a much more hellish place for the better. While this may seem trite to mention, it also goes to continuing the diversity of the marvel Netflix cast as a Latino-American actor would be a welcome addition.

What Ghost Rider brings to the table, besides the crazy visuals, is a story of vengeance turned to hatred to an eventual deal, begrudgingly, to work together with the demon inhabiting his body, the promise to kill and sate a thirst for murder, albeit only to kill the those who do evil and punish those who deserve it.

While this is a lot to consider, I think it is pretty safe to have some trust in Marvel, be it the movie arm or the tv arm, as they are both producing quality products more often than not. Some of these choices, like the new Guardians and Spider-man movies are pretty safe bets, but sometimes it’s fun to put your speculative hopes out into the universe, just in case it’s listening. Or it’s the Beyonder and he is shaking his head saying “Sir, you are higher than a Super Skrull on Helium if you think that is happening”. Either way, cannot wait for the present movies and TV, let alone the future.

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The Forge: Looking forward at the second phase of the DCEU & what can help shape the universe

“I am sure you’re wondering why I have all gathered you here. As you can see on the monitor, we are experiencing some significant turbulence within this time line, and are looking to the future thanks to Boomtube technology to give us an idea of how to fix this problem”

Fun Justice League scene aside, many fans are always looking to the future, whether it is the next movie for a particular character like the recently announced Man of Steel II, or the latest movie to shed light on the universe as a whole such as the soon to be released Wonder Woman and potential juggernaut in Justice League later this year.

Before we can even get into phase two however, we have to take a look at what is actually announced for phase one, if it is actually going to stay in this phase and if phase one will actually end as new movies seem to be getting announced every week. Currently according to IMDb, which I realize is not the be all and end all of information, has phase one of the DCEU as the following movies.

  • Man of Steel
  • Batman v Superman
  • Suicide Squad
  • Wonder Woman
  • Justice League part 1
  • The Flash
  • Aquaman
  • Shazam
  • Justice League Part 2
  • Cyborg
  • Green Lantern Corp

Automatically we know that The Flash is in major trouble, with multiple director changes and multiple script rewrites. The Shazam movie is at the moment vaporware with the Rock attached to play Black Adam, yet Black Adam is also supposed to have his own movie? Cyborg may get folded into a Teen Titans movie and the Green Lantern Corp may or may not be getting screen time in any of these movies already mentioned. Couple this with talks/announcements of The Batman, Man of Steel II, Bird’s of Prey and the Justice League Dark Universe; a magic and supernatural side of the world; we have to wonder what is actually being made and if they are going to keep it in all in phase one or spread it out. For the purpose of this piece I am going to make some assumptions on the newly announced movies and hedge my bets on them being part of the second round of DCEU shows. Here are the six movies I think are going to be the start of Warner Brothers follow-up to phase one.

The Batman

FM_161210_EW_03_063_V5.JPG

I think everyone realizes that this will be the first salvo used in DCEU’s next phase as it’s their primary character and Warner Brothers and DC seem to be unable to have something NOT loosely affiliated with the Dark Knights universe. With Ben Affleck stepping down as writer and director on this movie, it opens up a lot of potential for a new vision, not only for the movie itself, but for the potential direction of their cinematic universe. The interesting aspects of this movie is what story arcs will it take from the comic books, if it does at all.

In my mind, I see someone like the Riddler or the Penguin as the main villain as they challenge Batman/Bruce Wayne in a way that the other villains in these past four movies have not. The Riddler brings forth the capacity to have the detective nature of Batman come out. We can have deadly traps and queries meant to push our hero to the limit. On the flip side the Penguin is a strong opponent because you could play him as a rival business man to Bruce Wayne, while his criminal element causes strife for his alter ego.

Man of Steel II

Man of Steel II

This is the other sure-fire movie to be at the start of phase 2 as it has been pretty terrible of Warner Brothers to keep this movie out of the lime light. Man of Steel was the best movie, in my opinion, from the DCEU and their mishandling of their other properties from a critical viewpoint have made pushed this to the forefront of development.

What is exciting about a new Superman movie is we have a ton of places we can take this story. Do we take queues from the Justice League movies and expand from there, or do we introduce new villains like Mongul, Metallo or Cyborg Superman to challenge our hero on a more physical level compared to a mental one. In my opinion it would be to soon to bring in Braniac as his villain due to the fact that both he and Darkseid are similar ‘god tier’ opponents.

Birds of Prey/Gotham City Sirens

Birds of Prey

There has been a lot of talk lately about these movie, partially due to how well Margot Robbie was received as Harley Quinn in the Suicide Squad and partially because any time some notes something positive DC has to rush off and announce it’s in talks for a green light. Snark aside, I think there are a lot of positive aspects to a Birds of Prey or a Gotham City Sirens movie. We get to see Harley again, hopefully some cloths that cover something (didn’t like the look, sue me), and a potential cast of Bat Girl/Oracle, Huntress, Black Canary, Catwoman, Hawkgirl, Posion, Ivy, Wildcat and of course Batman.

The potential issues with this series though is what villains do they use and can they find a script which doesn’t paint these women as catty, or inept, or boring. Each of their personalities are drastically different in the comics and if they don’t capture that diversity of character it could leave a real sour taste in people’s mouths.

Blue Beetle and Booster Gold

Blue Beetle and Booster Gold

This is a personal wish of mine, above and beyond its actual potential to be made. This is the buddy cop movie of the DC universe which will help diversify their roster, and their emotional palette. These two characters together have such great chemistry in the pages of comics, that two action driven comics could be a perfect on-screen. Think 21 Jump Street but in space.

The hard part here is how to introduce these characters, as in the cinematic universe we are nowhere near these characters being revealed and depending on the path WB and DC choose to take for the rest of phase one, we may be a long ways off from getting to them. Still, snarky robots and buddy space cop comedy sounds like an instant hit.

Black Adam

Black_Adam

Black Adam is one of two movies I am suggesting that falls into the ‘Logan’ style of movie. A strong, potentially R rated movie about a character who struggles with who he is, his abilities and the morality of being such a powerhouse character.

My idea is to take the story arc from 52, where Black Adam is actually a hero at first, but has his family killed by the 4th horsemen of Apokolips Famine, and he goes berserk. His turn to anti-hero and eventual villain at the end of the movie then sets him up as the bad guy in a Shazam movie whether that means its a prequel or sets him up for a future movie is moot. You get fantastic character development, and gives The Rock a great surface to flex his acting and physical muscles on.

Hawkman

Hawkman

This is the other anti-hero character I think would fit well into the DCEU universe. He brings a bit more of the fantasy aspects, ala Wonder Woman or Marvel’s Thor to the universe, but also brings a darker, grittier world as Hawkman is much more of a troubled and violent character, when written well, than the rest of the JLA.

Interesting plots could be a twist on the Thanagarian War, which could introduce Hawkgirl into the DCEU. It gives us some great battles, incredible visuals and an interesting story line where the heroes finally know their team’s real identities, besides of course Batman, as he already knows. Another potential multi-movie plot could involve the Rann-Thanagar War, leading into the Death of Hawkman storyline. This doesn’t account for any one of my favourite fights in comics which is Superman & Batman vs Hawkman and Captain Marvel which would make for an epic second-to-third act battle.

 

DCTV

Warner Brothers TV

I have been an off again on again watcher of the DCTV universe. I liked Arrow season one and two, and disliked season three and four. I have been entertained with Flash, though my major problem with all of these shows is most prevalent on this series and that is the “CW romance, but I can’t say what I feel or do the right thing because it’s a twenty-three episode show” troupe. Legends of Tomorrow is wacky and entertaining, and while I haven’t seen the second season yet I actually had a really good time with Supergirl.

While the CW shows are great, I have always been a fan of the freedom that Netflix, Amazon and other services of the like have when making their shows. You see Preacher on AMC, Game of Thrones on HBO and Marvel characters on Netflix seeing good to great success because they are allowed to tackle more mature themes and stories, it also doesn’t hurt that we can see the trinity in effect; Swearing, Violence, and Nudity. If I could pick a property I would want to see, it would defintely be the following.

Etrigan the Demon

Etrigan

One of my favorite “oddball” characters, Etrigan the Demon could be a crazy fun trip through the ages. A demon tied to a hero of ancient time, Jason Blood, Etrigan represents the possibility for deep story and character driven development in the for of Jason Blood as they tell his story and how he ended up being bound to the Demon, as well as some fantastic fights scenes and special effect laden battles when Etrigan comes out to play. Also the struggle of these duel personalities makes for a great secondary macguffin.

Along with the clear horror ties this character has, he could also backdoor in others such as Swamp thing, Constantine and Deadman.  We would also be able to run the gambit of fantastical villains as we traipse through multiple timelines and era’s.

While I have my own wants and potential stories to be told, I would be interested in hearing what others want to see, and what the movie universe holds in store for you if you were in control.