I apologize for all of the Marvel-related posts I've been doing on this blog lately. I'm just really excited for the Marvel Avengers movie. I guess that's what a really good movie is supposed to do.
So now that we've seen The Avengers, what new recruits from the comics would you like to see? The below is pure speculation on my part, but it's a limited wish-list of characters I'd like to see in the Marvel film universe (trust me, I really had to narrow this down to cut the length of this article -- I didn't even get into Gilgamesh, Sersi, Herculese, Tigra, Firebird, etc.).
Hank Pym (a.k.a. Ant-Man, Yellow Jacket, Giant Man, Goliath)
Hank Pym, with the illustrated heads of, from left to right: Ant-Man, Giant Man, Goliath and Yellow Jacket.
A natural choice for the Avengers since he was a founding member in the comics and has been involved with a lot of key storylines (not the least of which is as the creator of Ultron, one of the Avengers’ chief adversaries), Hank Pym would also be a tough sell to the public. He’s never enjoyed mainstream success before, so many audiences would be introduced to Mr. Pym for the fist time. And his power flies in the face of any sort of “realism” the previous Marvel-produced films have tried to establish: size shifting. Hank Pym is probably best known as Ant-Man, and it’s of this incarnation that there is rumored to be a movie in the works with Edgar Wright at the helm (currently scheduled for a 2014 release). When Disney bought Marvel, John Lassetter was said to be very interested in adapting Ant-Man to film, for whatever reason. Just skip the whole wife-beating thing.
Janet van Dyne (The Wasp)
Another founding member, but I don’t see her starring in her own movie. Maybe introduced in someone else’s film. The Wasp is romantically involved with Hank Pym and uses his size-reduction process for her power, plus wings to fly around and stun people with a “wasp sting” ray. Yeah, I’ll be shocked if The Wasp makes it to the big screen anytime soon, but one would think she would be introduced in a possible Ant-Man movie.
Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch
I’d imagine Quicksilver and his sister Scarlet Witch are still owned by Fox, as they are supposed to be the son and daughter respectively of Magneto, the X-Men’s chief enemy. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are “mutants”, born with extraordinary abilities. Quicksilver can run really fast, while Scarlet Witch has the interesting ability of changing “probabilities” her way with her “hex” powers. Both have been longtime Avengers members, and it would be nice to see them as part of the team at some point in the movies. And if Marvel had the screen rights to X-Men, it would be easy to introduce them to audiences as the son and daughter of Magneto, a character mainstream audiences already know. But Marvel doesn’t have the screen rights to X-Men, so don’t hold your breath on these two turning up in the movie version of the Avengers team anytime soon.
I think Black Panther movie rights are currently owned by Fox, but if Marvel gets their hands on it: get a solid African American actor, get a stunning designer for the suit (it’s all black, so no “cheesey” colour issues or excuses), make Wakanda (the African nation where Black Panther rules) a bastion of technological growth in Africa that nations around the world covet, and you can have a potentially awesome movie. For a terrific take on Black Panther, seek out the DVD of the 6 episode adult animated series made for BET in the United States. Young T’Challa becomes ruler of Wakanda after his father dies at the hand of Klaw. Meanwhile the U.S. searches for excuses to invade Wakanda due to its natural resources and technology and Klaw assembles a team of super villains (Juggernaut, Batroc the Leaper, Black Knight and Radioactive Man) to raid Wakanda, opening the door for the U.S. to occupy the nation with the guise of “protection” against the invading hordes. Can T’Challa don the ceremonial garb of the Black Panther and do it justice while fending jealousy and doubt within his own kingdom and hostilities toward his kingdom from outside forces? I wasn’t sure if Black Panther could star in his own exciting movie until I saw this series. Black Panther was an Avenger, so if Marvel is looking for more fodder for box office success and a possible recruit for their Avengers movie line-up, Black Panther would be a great contender.
Follow along here: Hank Pym created Ultron, a robot meant for good. But Ultron gained sentience and became a genocidal maniac and main Avengers villain. Ultron then made Vision, an advanced Android that would lead Ultron’s creator Hank Pym into a trap. Vision (named after Janet van Dyne, a.k.a. The Wasp, describes him as a “vision” while trying to escape) is convinced by the Avengers to go against Ultron, and after learning that Ultron created Vision by mimicking Wonder Man’s brain waves (at this point, Wonder Man was dead), Vision joins the Avengers. He was with the Avengers for a long time, and when I think of The Avengers team, I think of Vision being in the roster. If Marvel can make Vision work in the movie version of the super-team, I’d like to see that happen.
Simon Williams (Wonder Man)
Various costumes of Wonder Man over the years. Pick one (I think I know which one you're going to pick -- the non-descript jacket version, second from the left, right? Bah!).
With strength comparable to Thor’s, Wonder Man is a good addition to the movie Avengers ranks. He’s been an Avenger in the comics for a long while and has a unique origin in that he started as a villain. Simon Williams, son of rich industrialist Sanford Williams who is owner of Williams Innovations, inherits his father’s munitions factory after his father's death. The company's profits fall due to competition from Stark Industries and Simon tries to embezzle funds from his company – he’s caught and incarcerated. Simon blamed Tony Stark for his incarceration and joins forces with Captain America villain Baron Heinrich Zemo and Thor villain Enchantress who pay Simon's bail and use Simon to infiltrate the Avengers. Zemo enfuses Simon Williams with ionic energy turning him into an ionic-powered being with superhuman powers of strength, imortality, increased agility and reflexes, invulnerability (including the lack of necessity to eat), and eventually the power of flight. Wonder Man joins the Avengers with instructions to betray them at a critical point, but decides to team up with the Avengers against Baron Zemo and his “Masters of Evil” group (including Zemo, Enchantress and Executioner (Thor villains), Melter (an Iron Man villain who, of course, melts things), Radioactive Man and Black Knight).
I can’t help but think the Masters of Evil (probably called something else) could be possible villains for an Avengers 3, a nice change of pace of having an Earth-based villain group after the large cosmic threats that the Avengers characters would have to fight in the forthcoming movies (like Thanos), with set ups in movies between Avengers 2 and 3 (if the franchise gets that far). Wonder Man could be set up in a possible Iron Man 4 and join in Avengers 3, betraying Zemo’s villainous super group at the film’s climax. Or not. Who knows?
Carol Susan Jane Danvers (Ms. Marvel, Binary, Warbird)
Ms. Marvel anyone? Since Fox apparently currently has the screen rights to the Skrulls and Kree alien races, and Ms. Marvel’s origin is that her powers are derived from being enfused with Kree/Skrull energy, her origin would have to be altered for the screen if she is used at all. Starting as a member of the United Staes Air Force, Carol Danvers was caught in an explosion of a Kree device when she stumbled on a Kree plot to take over a restricted military base. She is saved by Kree superhero Catain Marvel, but the blast injures Carol Danvers severely. Danvers makes a miraculous recovery and it is later revealed that eth device that exploded was an experiment weapon called a “Psyche-Magnetron” that melded Danvers’ genetic structure with Captain Marvel’s. Carol’s abilities include superhuman strength, supehuman stamina, flight, indestructibility, resistance to most toxins, and a limited precognitive "seventh sense. Binary and Warbird are other phases in Danvers’ superhero career that I won’t get into here, and I’m not even going to start on the X-Men character Rouge steeling her powers for a long while. Ms. Marvel is probably a stretch for the movie Avengers group, but was a popular member in the comics.
Samuel "Snap" Thomas Wilson (The Falcon)
Ah, Falcon. I love the iconography of his costume, and the fact that he’s a classic member of the Avengers, but this guy is a stretch for the movies. His power is that he can see through every bird’s eyes (giving him literally millions of eyes through out the world) and he can talk to birds. Oh, and he has a wing glider that allows him limited flight. Beyond that, he is mainstream comics’ first African American superhero (as opposed to Black Panther, who was a native of Africa and mainstream comics’ first black superhero). Old timers like myself will remember The Falcon being pushed in various media in the 70’s and 80’s, mainly toys (he was one of the Mego dolls of the 70’s), slushy cups, viewmaster reels, etc. where he was usually depicted as Captain America’s best friend (as he was in the comics). As with anyone, Falcon could work if done right, but I really don’t see Falcon turning up in any of Marvel’s movies, or even the Avengers. Shame.
Falcon, featured on a vintage 70's Mego doll advertisement (*ahem*, sorry, Mego Action Figure advertisement), along with The Lizard, Green Goblin and the Hulk.
Jennifer Walters (She-Hulk)
Given that the Hulk has starred in two movies that have been categorized by Hollywood as “not successful”, if Hulk were to have another go at the big screen, I would think that he would have to be teamed up with someone else. And there would be no other more natural fit than She-Hulk. Jennifer Walters is the cousin of Bruce Banner. After being shot by mobsters (long story), Walters needed a blood transfusion and Banner reluctantly agrees. At first, everything seems fine as Jennifer Walters makes a miraculous recovery, but then Walters finds that when angered she turns into the She-Hulk with similar powers as her cousin. Unlike her cousin though, Walters found that she can control her changes and decided to stay as She-Hulk all the time, preferring the freedom and assertiveness that came with it as opposed to how demure she used to be. She-Hulk was an Avenger for a long while, so she seems a natural fit for the Marvel film universe.
Spider-Man or Wolverine
1.) Spider-Man was never a regular Avenger in the comics (usually a “reserve member") and the same goes for Wolverine. The two characters were loners and it was uncharacteristic for them to join a super-team like the Avengers that fought cosmic threats. That all changed when the two characters were proving too popular to be restricted in what comics they could turn up in to sell books. Spidey and Wolvie were part of the “New Avengers” in 2005 (along with Thing, Luke Cage and Ms. Marvel) in order to push that new book to sales success. Now the lid was blown off of the taboo of putting Spidey and Wolverine on an Avengers team.
2.) Because of their popularity, it would be insane not to include one or both of these characters in an Avengers movie if you could (I mean, Hugh Jackman in an Avengers movie with the current cast?? Forget a 200 million dollar openning weekend, try 250 or 300 million!! I’m serious.)
3.) As of this writing, The Amazing Spider-Man, Sony’s reboot of the Spider-Man movie franchise (in an attempt to retain the Spider-Man movie licence by churning out a Spidey film every 2 to 4 years thus justifying their hold on the rights) has not been released yet. If it fails at the box office, that might make Sony want to ditch Spidey and sell it back to Marvel. If it succeeds (I think it will), Marvel will have to wait a while to grab it back as Sony will try to hold onto that property as long as they can. Same with Wolverine. There’s an X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2 (or whatever it's going to be called) coming out soon and the Wolverine character came with the X-Men property that Fox bought the screen rights to off Marvel years ago. I don’t think the forthcoming Woverine 2 and second X-Men: First Class film will fail, and Fox will retain the rights to those properties. What every Marvel fan (and now movie fan) wants to know is why can’t Disney (who now owns Marvel) flex their mighty Disney dollars/lawyers and buy back these lucrative properties (and while they’re at it, Namor, Ghost Rider, Daredevil, Black Panther and Fantastic Four too). If Disney can do that, their investment, no matter how hefty, will pay off. Trust me, IT WILL!!
So, what new recruits would you like to see to the Avengers movie roster in the future? Or would you like it to stay as is?