What Is Marvel Studios New Franchise Beyond The Avengers?
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is changing. Avengers: Infinity War and next year's yet-untitled Avengers 4 have long been said to mark the end of the decade-long storytelling journey that began with Iron Man, but we know it's not the end of the MCU. Marvel Studios has plans for movies all the way out until 2025 and now, in an earnings call earlier today, Walt Disney Corporation ECO Bob Iger teased that new franchises could be on the horizon as well.
The suggestion that a new series of films and characters not yet seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe came in response to a question from an investor who wondered how Disney plans to continue the unprecedented winning streak of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
"I'm guessing that we will try our hand at a new franchise beyond Avengers," Iger said before noting that there are over 7,000 characters they could work with.
The idea of new franchises and more characters doesn't mean that the familiar Avengers characters would entirely disappear. Iger noted that they should not discount the possibilities of more follow-up films for some of the characters but stressed that there were more stories to tell.
"There are a lot more stories to tell and a lot more characters to fill those stories with," he said.
But what stories might the MCU tell next? A few future franchise possibilities have been buzzed about in recent months, with both a Nova film and a much-rumored Eternals film coming immediately to mind. There's also the idea of an all-female hero team getting a crack at their own movie that has come up every so often. The deal with Fox could also introduce some options for possible future franchises, something that man fans have been hoping for. Whatever stories Marvel Studios wants to explore beyond The Avengers, we agree with Iger: are plenty of ideas and options. And while we could go on forever about ideas, we do have a few that we think would make for not just great stories but would fit in nicely to the established MCU.
Read on for possible future Marvel Cinematic Universe franchises, but note there may be some Infinity War spoilers sprinkled throughout.
One of the top contenders for a post-Avengers franchise? Nova. The cosmic character, whose real identities include Richard Rider, Sam Alexander, and others is one whose story is somewhere near the top of the list for a standalone movie. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige addressed the possibility at a press event for Avengers: Infinity War.
"Nova is... if we have a big board with a bunch of characters that have more immediate potential, Nova is on that board," Feige told ComicBook.com. "Because of the connection to the Guardians universe, because there are more than one example to pull from in the comics that are interesting. And you're absolutely right, he was in the earliest drafts of the [Guardians of the Galaxy]."
Nova being a new franchise in the MCU is something that Infinity War itself may have set up for. We break that down (complete with spoilers) here.prevnext
Another property that Marvel Studios has discussed considering for the MCU after Avengers 4? The Eternals. Feige told The Wrap last month that the studio has had conversations about them.
"Eternals is one of many, many, many things that we are actively beginning to have creative discussions about to see if we believe in them enough to put them on a slate," he said.
After Infinity War, it seems like they might be. When Thanos shows up to collect the Soul Stone in the film, they're greeted by the Soul Stone's Stonekeeper -- none other than Red Skull who greets Thanos as "Thanos, son of A'lars." In comics, A'lars is the real name for the character more commonly called Mentor -- a member of the Eternals. He also founded the Eternals colony on Titan and, in Infinity War, Thanos does mention his efforts to save Titan being rejected by the Eternals council. If Marvel Studios went with an Eternals franchise, there's a lot they could pursue.prevnext
Adam Warlock may not be showing up in Avengers 4, but that doesn't mean he can't show up after Avengers 4.
Infinity War directors Anthony and Joe Russo told ComicBook.com recently that Adam Warlock was definitively not showing up in Avengers 4, but the character was hinted at in a mid-credits scene in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Should Warlock's story expand beyond that mention, it could create an opportunity for the Infinity Watch. In comics, the Infinity Watch is a group of heroes gathered to guard the Infinity Gems with each one given a gem to prevent anyone else from assembling them into the Infinity Gauntlet that Thanos used to wipe out half of the life in the universe.
In the comics, the team includes some familiar faces -- namely Drax the Destroyer and Gamora -- so depending on the outcomes of Avengers 4 and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 any potential Infinity Watch franchise might look different than its source material, but it would be an interesting way to explore new stories while staying connected to previous events in the MCU.prevnext
Depending on the outcome of Avengers 4, Earth might be in need of some new heroes. This presents an excellent franchise opportunity in the Thunderbolts.
In comics, the Thunderbolts first appeared in The Incredible Hulk #449 and were presented as a superhero group like the Avengers and established themselves as protectors after the Avengers were declared dead. They turn out to be the Masters of Evil in disguise, but the team ultimately ends up on a path of redemption, rejecting their evil leader Baron Helmut Zemo to become real heroes.
How would that work in the MCU? Well, in comics they end up under the leadership of the one Avenger we don't see in Infinity War: Hawkeye. With fans theorizing that the events of Infinity War may be so devastating to Hawkeye that he is emotionally traumatized to the point of going all Ronin on everyone and embracing a darker, more violent persona, it might make for a great bridge to the Thunderbolts. Bonus points? A lot of characters have been on Thunderbolts so the options are limitless as to who they could introduce.prevnext
Sure, Blade has already had a trio of solo films, but this was pre-Marvel Cinematic Universe and now, audiences expressed interest in seeing the character come back as part of the MCU. Wesley Snipes, who starred in the original films, has said that he'd be open to reprising the role and Feige has previously said that the studio would do something with Blade -- eventually.
"They did ask a long time ago and I think our answer was, 'No, we'll do something with Blade at some point.' That's still the answer," Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige told The Playlist in 2016. "We still think he's a great character. He's a really fun character. We think this movie going into a different side of the universe would have the potential to have him pop up, but between the movies, the Netflix shows, the ABC shows there are so many opportunities for the character to pop up as you're now seeing with Ghost Rider on 'AGENTS of S.H.I.E.L.D.' that rather than team up with another studio on that character let's do something on our own. What that is? Where that will be? We'll see. There is nothing imminent to my knowledge."
With the Avengers story coming to an end and Feige's comments being two years old, maybe the time is right for Blade to return.prevnext
In comics, Iron Man forms his own team with a specifically different philosophy than most teams. His team wouldn't just respond to catastrophe; they'd stop it from happening in the first place. That team? Force Works, and that might make for an interesting franchise choice post-Avengers.
As audiences have seen, Iron Man/Tony Stark grown a great deal as a character since 2008's Iron Man, going from the careless playboy we first met to a man who just saw the closest thing he had to a son die, crumbling in his arms when Thanos snapped his fingers. Should Tony survive Avengers 4, it's possible his whole philosophy about everything will change and could lead him to creating a team focused preventing tragedy. In comics, Force Works specifically tries to prevent natural and man-made disasters. One of the things Thanos talks about on Titan is that his reason for balancing the universe is to prevent suffering due to ecological disaster (namely populations overburdening the resources of worlds.) It's not impossible that Tony would be inspired by it, just in a less supervillain sort of way.prevnext
The MCU has SHIELD on Earth. Now that it's well-established that there are galactic threats as well, why not bring on a S.W.O.R.D. franchise?
In comics, S.W.O.R.D. is the counterpart of S.H.I.E.L.D. They're just stationed not on Earth, but in an orbital space station known as the Peak. If the MCU were to create a S.W.O.R.D. franchise, it could easily be introduced with the upcoming Captain Marvel. With that film introducing Carol Danvers at a time when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races in a story set in the 1990s, the seeds for S.W.O.R.D. could easily be sewn. It would be a nice addition to the MCU, especially as the stories appear to be shifting more to the cosmic part of the Marvel universe.prevnext
If the MCU is looking to explore characters it's never touched before on the big screen, Brother Voodoo could be a fun option.
In comics, Brother Voodoo (real name Jericho Drumm) takes up and masters voodoo after his brother, Daniel Drumm, dies. Brother Voodoo ends up becomeing Haiti's champion and is an ally to various superheroes, including Spider-Man and Black Panther.
Brother Voodoo also ends up as Sorcerer Supreme after the Eye of Agamotto leaves Doctor Strange. It's not unimaginable that, after Avengers 4, someone other than Doctor Strange may no longer be the Eye's keeper creating an opportunity to bring in Brother Voodoo.
It's worth noting that in 2003, Syfy announced it was developing a live-action TV movie and backdoor pilot for a Brother Voodoo television series.prevnext
One thing Infinity War showcased is that there is no shortage of powerful women in the MCU. If Marvel Studios is looking for franchise ideas post-Avengers, maybe they should consider an all-women Avengers film.
Making an A-Force film -- or Lady Liberators, or Fearless Defenders, we're open to franchise names -- is something that fans have been asking for and so has stars of the MCU. Thor: Ragnarok star Tessa Tompson told IGN that she's excited for a future of Marvel with women being front and center.
"There's an interest - they're doing Captain Marvel, they're doing a Black Widow - there's an interest in having women at the forefront of this phase. I feel like it's hopeful, who knows," Thompson said about the possibilities of an Avengers movie led by women.
We've already got Captain Marvel on the way, a Black Widow movie is in development. The future of the MCU very well could be female.prevnext
If Marvel is truly wanting to dig into characters and stories they haven't really touched until now, U.S. Avengers could make for a fun option.
A newer team in comics, U.S. Avengers first debuted in 2017 and features an interesting cast of characters -- a time displaced Captain America Danielle Cage from the future and Squirrel Girl come to mind. While we realize that this team is likely an extremely long shot, there is one very good reason a U.S. Avengers franchise might be worth doing. In comics, the team has ties to S.H.I.E.L.D., Guardians of the Galaxy, and the X-Men and Deadpool, too. With the Disney/Fox deal on the horizon, a U.S. Avengers franchise could serve as a way to connect the MCU with Fox's properties, thus unlocking even more opportunities.
And, hey, Squirrel Girl. Why not?
What franchises would you like to see in a post-Avengers MCU? Let us know in comments!prev