The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), including their Netflix series, is expanding rapidly. Since having kids, the wife and I can’t seem to keep up. I’m not sure she’s as impatient to see Captain America: Civil War as I am, but I appreciate her sympathies nonetheless. We have plans to see it this weekend, so, fingers crossed. I will admit to growing a little tired of the bombast in the Marvel films—does every single one have to end with an extended series of scenes of things blowing up?—I’m still along for the ride to see how all of these movies build up to Avengers: Infinity War. I’ve absolutely loved Daredevil and Jessica Jones on Netflix. Beyond the films and series they’ve already announced, there are some other projects I’d like to see Marvel Studios produce down the line. Here’s a brief list.
Scarlett Johansson might not have been the first choice among fans to play former Russian spy Natasha Romanov (“She’s too short!” they cried), but she’s made the movie version of Widow all her own. She was particularly great in The Winter Soldier, enough so that I wanted to see an entire movie focusing on the adventures of Widow and Cap: two-plus solid hours of them infiltrating enemy lines, kicking ass, and having really funny and thoughtful conversations during quieter moments. But first I’d like to see a solo Black Widow film because I think the character is interesting enough to support a film by herself. Maybe Cap could make a small guest appearance, but it should be all about Natasha as the star. Marvel could really lean into the espionage aspect, which they haven’t done a lot with so far, plus send Natasha on a globe-hopping adventure. Johansson is fantastic in the role and it’s about time she got a starring vehicle of her own in the MCU. UPDATE: Kevin Feige at Marvel has recently hinted at the strong possibility of a Black Widow franchise of movies, so it’s starting to look more like this is happening after all.
Often derided as a second-rate Batman because he’s a rich single white guy who lives in a mansion by day and strikes fear in the hearts of criminals by night, Moon Knight is actually much more than that. Moon Knight draws power from the Egyptian moon god Khonshu and wears one of the most badass costumes in comics. His civilian identity is Marc Spector, except he has a few other identities as well. You see, he suffers from multiple personality disorder, or at least he thinks he does. It’s complicated, and over the years different writers have either handled this aspect of the character poorly or muddied the waters a bit. The point is, there are several hooks for a Moon Knight series, one of which is the possibility to explore certain aspects of mental health issues. He’s a character who would benefit more from a series than a film. Similar to Daredevil, he’s often portrayed as a street level hero. Throw in the mystical elements and the personality disorder and you have a compelling series, one that would fit in beautifully with the current slate of Marvel’s Netflix series. It’s a natural progression from Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, really, and all of those characters could guest star seamlessly in a Moon Knight series.
This one needs to be a series also, except with a lighter tone than Marvel’s current slate of shows. She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters) is, at heart, a fun character, and that’s what draws fans to her most often. John Byrne’s run on The Sensational She-Hulk established a tone for Jen that has carried over to most of her other series since. She’s self-aware, intelligent, powerful, and has a sense of humor. She’s a lawyer by day, which allows the show to work in the legal aspect (and we all know television shows love courtroom drama). She’s a spin-off character from the Hulk (she’s his cousin and a life-saving blood transfusion from him gave her the green skin and super powers) so there’s a concern that an audience will think this is a Hulk ripoff, not understanding the character’s rich and varied history. In the three or four decades since her start as a knockoff, she’s starred in several long-running series of her own and established her own identity. She’s also an Avenger, so she could fit right into the movie’s team. Comics fans see the tongue-in-cheek nature of her name, and since Jen is a fun and self-deprecating character it fits perfectly with her personality. But will audiences who aren’t familiar with her just think it’s a stupid, derivative name? Since Deadpool recently became a smash movie, and his name is utterly nonsensical to non-comics readers, She-Hulk’s name is not a concern. A She-Hulk series would have it all, ideally—humor, action, drama, feats of superhuman agility and strength, a connection to the larger MCU, and a female lead, of course.
The character has already been teased in Guardians of the Galaxy during a scene in the Collector’s museum, and the MCU is headed toward their own version of Infinity War, a series in which Warlock plays a big role. Plus, we’ve seen a lot of Marvel Cosmic characters pop up in recent MCU films, including Jim Starlin’s Thanos. In the comics, Thanos and Warlock were inextricably linked over a series of stories, most written by Starlin himself. In the comics, Warlock is an artificial human who Starlin sent into space where he encountered entities like the Universal Church of Truth, a thinly veiled metaphor for the Catholic Church, and a planet full of clowns working on a gigantic garbage heap, who served as stand-ins for Marvel writers and editors of the time and offered a scathing critique on how the business was run in the 1970s. The point here is that Warlock’s adventures through the galaxy were a blast and could help Marvel continue down the path that they began with Guardians of the Galaxy. Ideally, it would be best if we could get a standalone Warlock film, one that reinterprets those great “Cosmic Awareness” stories of Starlin’s for a modern audience, but the safer bet is that he’ll costar in a future Guardians film or at least Avengers: Infinity War.
Son of Satan
I’m swinging for the fences with this one. I realize it’s a long shot but I would love to see it happen. Daimon Hellstrom was, literally, the son of Satan. He was also half human and thus struggled with his rather, um, unusual paternal heritage. He and dear ol’ dad were constantly at war, as Daimon renounced his father’s evil ways and struck out to protect the world from the evil minions of Hell. Part of an occult horror renaissance in comics during the 1970s, Hellstrom spun out of the pages of Ghost Rider (maybe this is a way for Marvel to rehabilitate everyone’s favorite motorcyclist with a flaming skull after two underwhelming films starring Nicholas Cage). A series would best fit the Son of Satan, allowing for a monster of the week structure while the underlying main plot could explore Hellstrom’s continuing battle against Satan and his demonic hordes. There have been a number of television series about supernatural investigators, several in just the last decade, so Son of Satan should work just fine in a serialized format. Setting the series in the 1970s, during the original era for the character, would be an intriguing way to differentiate it from the rest of the MCU while also still allowing for subtle nods to the modern-day MCU. Plus it would have groovy ’70s set designs and costuming. The ’70s occult investigator TV series, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, would be an excellent source of inspiration for a period-set Son of Satan series.