Avengers: Endgame is what Marvel has been building to since Thor (the first appearance of the Tesseract/Space Stone was the film’s post-credits scene, in which Fury shows it to a Loki-controlled Erik Selvig). In proceeding years, Marvel would change our perception of film canon through the brilliantly marketed idea of a cinematic universe. Of course, the cinematic universe had its predecessor in Star Wars’ expanded universe which spanned film, novels, video games, TV shows and comic books, but the comparatively slim film canon was relatively contained despite the over-saturation of the prequels. Marvel approached their films in a similar fashion to their comic book universe and thus successfully created the most cohesive and interconnected film canon to ever exist.
We’re all interested to see how the big M will adapt as they move into the post-Endgame era. Will the universe sit in a holding pattern until the X-Men arrive? What will the next event be? How will new streaming platform Disney+ change the amount of film content they release?
Here are 10 things we could and probably should see from the Marvel Cinematic Universe over the next 10 years.
1. T’Challa’s Character Development
As we move into a new era of Marvel, likely to be without Steve Rogers and Tony Stark, it’s unclear how the group dynamic will change. Who will be an Avenger? Who will be the leader? Will any of that even matter?
Of course, the team-ups will have to continue – the culmination of the films to an event blockbuster is Marvel’s thing – but what will T’Challa’s role be?
We’ve seen his leadership ability, we’ve seen his strength and we’ve seen how valuable he is in technological terms. That’s all secondary to character, though…
In Black Panther, we saw T’challa change his outlook on his family, country and the world. How will he handle the consequences of his actions if it leads to another incident like Ultron? What flaws will develop over his next appearances, and how will he respond? Or will he get the Captain America treatment, where his flaw is that he’s just way too good? I hope for the former as the best characters in the Marvel films are the ones that go through lots of change.
2. Reincorporating Characters Into New Roles
Hero identities change all the time in comic books. How many Robins has Joker killed now? The first one became Nightwing…
We just saw all the different Spider-Man iterations in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, so film audiences are familiar. Plus, Marvel isn’t a stranger to changing actors for a role. The only difference is the new character.
It has been theorized (based on contracts) that Bucky is set to become Captain America. Like Steve, he’s a super soldier, and he’s been turned from being a sleeper agent into a good guy now. Shuri’s technological proficiency could give her an upper-hand in becoming Iron Heart, Iron Man’s female successor. Thor, assuming he survives Endgame, is still the protector of eight realms, which would make it cool to see him appear in cameos just as Fury does. Thor theoretically has the ability to travel to any character in the MCU, so seeing him deliver exposition in post-credit scenes would be fun. Don’t completely eliminate what we’re familiar with, even if they are relegated.
3. A Good Ruffalo Hulk Film
The Incredible Hulk is a weird movie. Edward Norton stars in it, its cinematography dates it in the mid-2000s and it shows us that Bruce can’t have sex. There are some good things contained within it, like editing in rhythm with Banner’s rising heart rate and seeing how he learned to control himself, but overall the execution is lacking compared to what has followed. While it’s possible Mark Ruffalo could fulfil his contractual obligation to Marvel by featuring in upcoming film, I would prefer to see him sent off (if he is) in his own feature. It could be a way to introduce a new recurring character or technology while also bringing closure to the Hulk we know and love. Unfortunately, I think it’s much more likely that he appears in something like Black Widow because of the relationship between Universal and Marvel that has caused tensions across all these years regarding solo film rights.
4. More Cosmic Marvel
There are so many different settings to explore and weird characters to meet. Of course we’ll see more in the sequels to the aforementioned films (crossing my fingers for a Thor 4), but an Eternals film is also in development which has the potential to incorporate space (the Eternals are superhuman beings created by Celestials tasked to protect Earth against the Deviants), though it’s likely an Eternals film is more akin to Thor or Captain Marvel than a straight cosmic adventure. There’s also a chance we could get a lot of it in a future Fantastic Four film now that Disney own the rights to that franchise. The color and set design of cosmic films give us all a good break from the typical Marvel look, so in an age where intrigue will inevitably be tested, I say the more the better.
5. More Visual Variety
Marvel’s best possible next step in its cinematic evolution is growing beyond its formulaic standards of cinematography. Don’t get me wrong, the movies look good and achieving this kind of visual cohesion is certainly impressive, but the camera, lighting and editing mostly lack a personal touch. With the universe firmly established, Marvel should allow more room for creative freedom. I think Thor: Ragnarok and the Guardians films are each proof that giving a director allowance to execute their vision can still bring in money, so please give us Edgar Wright and Ava DuVernay’s superhero movies (we were promised them with Ant-Man and Black Panther respectively). Give Spike Lee or Quentin Tarantino a call. You have the money to convince them.
More different is a good thing.