Change is always tricky. It doesn’t always take (New Coke?), but in some cases like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, change could lead to some amazingly creative and fun developments.
Marvel Studios built its game changing franchise on the strength of its A/B+ players in Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk and Thor. With the contracts of Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth and Jeremy Renner all slated to end after Avengers 4, the Avengers are going to look a lot different in Phase 4.
But there’s no chance Marvel is going to abandon its most profitable franchise. Just like the team in the comics, the Avengers’ lineup will constantly change and morph. And instead of Captain America and Iron Man at the forefront, the new leaders seem poised to be Black Panther and Captain Marvel. Here’s why Black Panther and Captain Marvel could usher in a new era of greatness for the MCU’s mightiest heroes.
Time For a Switch up
It makes sense for Marvel as Black Panther is Hollywood’s newest breakout franchise with a staggering $235M opening weekend. Chadwick Boseman has the poise and presence to be the new team leader or co-leader. We’ve already seen T’Challa work alongside the Avengers in Captain America: Civil War, but leading a team would be entirely different. But it’s clear already that audiences are fans of Black Panther and are invested in his corner of the Marvel Universe. With Black Panther’s role in Avengers: Infinity War it seems likely that interest will increase.
While Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel didn’t beat Wonder Woman to theaters, it will be the second standalone female superhero film in the modern era. Expect a full course press of hype similar to Black Panther for Carol Danvers AKA Captain Marvel, who might still be introduced in Avengers: Infinity War before her film in 2019.
Get Set For a Culture Clash
Some of the core elements of the first two Avengers films and Civil War was the different style of leadership between Captain America and Iron Man. As a fighter pilot, Carol Danvers would likely have some issues working along a monarch and their take on being a leader could be fun to explore. T’Challa is used to going into battle with powerful women, but what about the most powerful one on the planet and one who doesn’t care if he’s used to complete obedience?
The personality clash could prove fun to explore with those two as they battle potential threats like Kang the Conqueror, Korvac or Count Nefaria. Or what about when the Avengers finally have their first big screen face off with The X-Men or Fantastic Four if the Fox buyout occurs?
Filling out the Ranks
Clearly, Ant-Man & Wasp have to be part of the crew. Their size changing abilities and personalities are distinct enough to easily hang with Black Panther and Captain Marvel. Vision and Scarlet Witch should still hang around to provide some connection to the old team. Bucky Barnes would make an interesting addition with his personal connection to Black Panther following his time in Wakanda as well as being able to relate to Captain Marvel as a fellow soldier. Then just for fun throw in a wild card like Wonder Man or Hercules to provide the power and constant challenges to authority.
Have Shuri on tap as the team’s technical advisor as the Black Panther scene stealer would be a lot of fun working with the Avengers.
An Ultimate Option
An idea Marvel Studios might be interested in attempting is adapting The Ultimates. That team consisted of Black Panther and Captain Marvel as well as Blue Marvel, Photon and Ms. America. It seems like Photon might be introduced in Captain Marvel with DeWanda Wise cast in a role that is likely Photon’s Monica Rambeau.
Blue Marvel adds another black superhero and Ms. America is LGBT Latina America Chavez. Marvel, Fox or Warner Bros. seem all that eager to spotlight an LGBT character and America could provide the toe-dipping character Marvel Studios needs to reach another largely ignored audience base.
That team already has a ton of stories including The Ultimates: Omniversal to choose from.
What do you think? Can the MCU remain just as viable with Black Panther and Captain Marvel at the forefront as the early days with Cap, Thor, Hulk and Iron Man?