By all rights, Marvel Studios gave the world more than enough news yesterday with its massive wave of Phase 3 announcements. With Civil War, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and little event called Infinity Gaunt—er, War, there’s plenty to salivate over the next half of a decade. But, being the fans that we are, we can’t resist the opportunity to discuss what Marvel didn’t deliver. The Marvel Universe is a big place after all, leaving many a character and storyline to wait for their moment in the spotlight. While it’s probably just a matter of time at this point, here are the Marvel Studios announcements that we wish we had, well, now.
1) The Amazing Spider-Man
With Marvel and Sony Productions being the cozy bedfellows that they are with Spider-Man films and merchandising, many were hoping that the two would broker a deal for Peter Parker’s inclusion in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.These desires only gained traction when news broke that the third Captain America film would adapt “Civil War,” a Marvel Universe storyline with Spider-Man front and center. Now that Marvel has proven it can juggle multiple stars in one film, we want to see it handle multiple franchises. Alas, it looks like Earth’s Mightiest and the Wall-Crawler will keep playing in separate sandboxes for the foreseeable future.
2) More Casting News
While we were more than thrilled to learn that Chadwick Boseman accepted the mantle of Black Panther, it really just left hungry for more casting announcements. If you give a mouse a cookie, right? Phase 3’s two other headlining newcomers, Captain Marvel and Dr. Strange, are weighty roles with a lot riding on them. One opens the doors to Marvel’s mystical realm, and the other paves the road for more female-led comic films. Official casting announcements would have set the tone for each film, and the bar for the greater constituency they represent. At the very least, Marvel could have confirmed or denied the Benedict Cumberbatch news.
3) Still No Hulk Solo Sequel
Bruce Banner and the Hulk may have very well been The Avengers’ breakout characters, thanks in no small part to Mark Ruffalo’s superb acting. And by giving Banner (limited) control over his anger and transformations, Marvel seemed to have the Big Guy finally figured out. If they could make Groot, the talking tree, a cultural phenomenon, surely they can make the Hulk resonate with moviegoers. While it is great great to see new faces having their turn in the limelight, it’s equally sad that one of Marvel’s anchoring characters has been downgraded to a backseat driver.
4) A Disney Animated Film With Marvel Universe Characters
True, Disney’s upcoming animated feature, Big Hero 6, is technically a Marvel Comics adaptation. But that world exists entirely outside of the Marvel Universe’s, making it as relevant to the Cinematic Universe as, say, The Incredibles. If Marvel really wanted to show it multimedia domination, it would have conquered the land of of feature animation as well. Placing animation and live-action in same universe could make for a technical headache, but Marvel could easily write off any animated film as another world in the Multiverse (and Marvel did just spill that Dr. Strange would introduce the concept of parallel dimensions). Mini Marvels, we think we just found your new home. Or, Marvel and Disney could make a standalone story, like Big Hero 6, but just include more recognizable characters. Either way, there’s no pleasing us until we see an Avenger through the lens of Disney or Pixar’s stylized computer animation.
5) No Tethers Tied to Marvel’s Netflix Series
As is excited as Phase 3 made us, let’s not forget that Marvel’s barely begun exploring a completely separate branch of their Cinematic Universe. Daredevil. Luke Cage. Jessica Jones. Iron Fist. The Defenders. Together, the five projects could make up their own cinematic phase. Marvel has said that these series occupy the same universe that their films share, but now it’s time to start proving it. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a linchpin the cinematic universe’s evolution, so why can’t the Netflix titles start proving their worth? With the Superhuman Registration Act rearing it’s head in 2016, and all reality in jeopardy in 2019, The Defenders and The Avengers have ample opportunities to breach each other's worlds. We just want to know what those opportunities are.
Bonus Wish: Howard The Duck
Hey, Marvel started it.