The Marvel Cinematic Universe has an expansive roster of characters. The upcoming Avengers: Endgame is poised to be the biggest Marvel event in film, with characters from over 20 films appearing in one movie.
Disney has an upcoming streaming service which will provide new exclusive shows directly from Marvel Studios. This will be the first time Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige will be in charge of something on the television side. The other current Marvel shows are very loosely connected to the film side of things, while these Disney+ shows will actually have actors from the films starring in them.
Series revolving around Loki, Vision and Scarlet Witch, Falcon and Winter Soldier, and an animated series based on the popular What If? line will show audiences interesting new corners into the already massive MCU.
Lokiwill reportedly be about the god of mischief causing mayhem in human history. Not much is known about the Falcon and Winter Soldier or Vision and Scarlet Witch series, but those characters are definitely interesting enough to star in their own shows. The What If? series will be interesting as well because it will present theoretical timelines of altered events in the MCU which has the potential to be very intriguing.
The possibilities of Marvel Studios’ shows on Disney+ are endless because comic book storytelling lends itself better in the episodic format rather than the limited storytelling of a 2-hour film.
What does the Fox deal mean?
In this franchise’s beginnings, there were some notable characters missing. Everything related to Spider-Man and the X-Men was considered off-limits, because of their film rights belonging to Sony and Fox. Now everything has changed.
Disney and Sony share the rights to Spider-Man, and now Disney has officially bought out Fox, which means almost nothing is off limits for the MCU.
When Marvel as a whole was struggling, in order to stay afloat, they had to sell the film rights to their characters. The film rights to everything related to the X-Men and Fantastic Four went to Fox. While there were other Marvel properties Fox bought, they all reverted back to the MCU, with Fox keeping the X-Men and Fantastic Four until the recent acquisition.
So as of March 20, 2019, Marvel is allowed to use villains like Galactus, Kang the Conqueror, Annihilus, Magneto, and Dr. Doom. All of those villains have the potential to be as devastating as Thanos. But the two villains fans want the MCU to tackle the most are Galactus and Dr. Doom. Doom and Galactus have been attempted in the past to mixed results.
Dr. Doom appeared in the mid-2000’s Fantastic Four movies, played by Julian McMahon. They got the look down, but the movies made him a completely different character. The less said about Fant4stic the better. There appears to be interest from Kevin Feige himself for the shelved Noah Hawley project.
Dr. Doom could easily be the big bad for the next couple of phases. He is one of the most iconic villains in comic books and he’s perfectly capable taking on the Avengers himself. He’s incredibly smart, complex, and badass. Thanos definitely has depth, but he’s more of a spectacle villain to show what this film universe is capable of. Doom’s action can be more personal and complicated which is something the MCU will need after its end all be all Infinity Saga is over.
Galactus’ “appearance” in Rise of the Silver Surfer angered many fans because of his cloud-like appearance that had no resemblance to his comic look. Fans want to see him devour planets in his giant humanoid form with the purple get up.
I’m guessing Marvel doesn’t want to touch the X-Men for a bit, because Fox has been releasing these movies for almost 20 years now. While there are legit criticisms of the Fox X-Men franchise, there’s also been a lot of positive elements that includes their bold risk-taking with movies like Days of Future Past, Deadpool, and Logan. Marvel Studios will have to do some thinking as to how they want to present the X-Men in this world.
What fans want to see the most is the Fantastic Four done right. Marvel’s first family hasn’t really hit a home run in film. The two mid-2000’s films are very much a product of their time and Fant4stic was a disaster. If anybody deserves a second chance under the MCU umbrella, it most definitely is the Fantastic Four. That group kickstarted what many considered to be Marvel Comics’ golden age. A quality Fantastic Four story in the MCU would be huge, as it can introduce audiences to a whole new world.
But the MCU still doesn’t have everything….
What’s still missing?
The Spider-Man situation is weird. Sony was struggling with their Spider-Man franchise at the time and the infamous hacks put the corporation at its lowest point. Disney and Sony made a deal to share the rights to the web-head, but Sony still has a say. Yes Marvel Studios can make Spidey films and he can appear alongside the Avengers, but Sony is also working on their own Spider-Man franchise.
Spider-Man:Into the Spider-Verse and Venom showed that Sony is fully capable of making their own successful Spider-related films that have nothing to do with the MCU. Iconic Spider-Man related characters like Miles Morales, Venom, Carnage, Black Cat, Silver Sable, Spider-Gwen, Kraven, and Morbius might never appear alongside Tom Holland’s Spider-Man because Sony fully intends on using those characters for their own movies. Apparently, the Marvel/Sony deal expires after Far From Home, but Sony intends on keeping the partnership going.
But if Disney/Marvel fully owned the Spider-Man license, would we have gotten Into the Spider-Verse?
Universal still owns the solo film rights to the Hulk and everything related to that character. He can easily appear in a supporting role in films like The Avengers and Thor: Ragnarok, but if they want to make a movie with Hulk in a starring role, then Universal has to get involved. When The Incredible Hulk released in 2008, most of Marvel Studios’ films were still being distributed by Paramount with this specific movie being the sole exception.
No one really knows the full details to the film rights of the Hulk besides the suits at Disney and Universal. In the 2018 Disney Financial Report, on page 11 it says, ”The Company distributes all Marvel-produced films with the exception of The Incredible Hulk, which is distributed by Universal Pictures.”
Forbes wrote an article on the possible reasons why Marvel still hasn’t made another solo Hulk film since 2008. Universal currently has the right of first refusal, which means they have the priority rights to distribute any solo Hulk movie if they want to. If Universal decides not to, then the distribution rights go straight to Disney.
The writer pointed out that The Incredible Hulk is Marvel Studios’ lowest grossing movie and mentioned other deciding factors that include finding the right story, and the possible high risk/high budget for a movie that will feature a hero that’s mostly CGI motion capture.
But that begs the question
If Sony is making Spider-Man movies that have nothing to do with the MCU, why can’t Universal? Also if Disney is willing to collaborate with Sony for Spider-Man, why haven’t they done the same with Universal? Spider-Man: Homecoming shows that a relationship between two different studios is possible. While I get that Spider-Man is obviously more popular than the Hulk, there is still an audience for the world breaker himself.
It seems like the Hulk has been relegated to the guest character for ensemble movies for the time being, which is a shame. The Hulk is one of Marvel’s most iconic heroes and I personally would’ve loved to have seen a Mark Ruffalo starring Hulk movie with the duality aspect being the main focus, further exploration of Betty and Thaddeus Ross, and a possible appearance from The Leader.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe still isn’t 100% whole, but its future is looking very bright with all these new avenues they could explore that could keep this franchise going for decades. But the Marvel Cinematic Universe still isn’t 100% complete with the rights of Hulk and Spider-Man still belonging to other companies.
Would movies like Logan, Deadpool, and Spider-verse happen under the Disney umbrella? Would a Venom or Morbius movie happen? Do you want another Hulk movie? Feel free to comment!