The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand, adding more television shows to its roster with the addition of Marvel’s Runaways, based upon the popular series created by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona.
With television proving to be one of the more popular mediums for telling superhero stories, what comics could Marvel adapt next?
Comics are often about legacy, with heroes changing and evolving over the decades that they’re produced, with new characters coming in to take on the mantles of older heroes, or to carry on their legacy in some form. Young Avengers is a book all about this.
Originally a 12 issue limited series, it proved so popular that the characters have been features across multiple titles ever since. The most popular version of the team consists of Patriot/Elijah Bradley, a descendent of a super soldier from World War 2 who carries a shield similar to Captain America’s first one, and dresses in a costume reminiscent of Bucky Barnes; Hawkeye/Kate Bishop, a young woman with incredible archery skills that took on the mantle of Hawkeye following the death of Clint Barton.
There is also Stature/Cassie Lang, the daughter of Scott Lang/Ant-Man, she has the ability to shrink and make herself larger at will; Wiccan/Billy Kaplan, a magic user that is also the son of Scarlet Witch; Speed/Tommy Shepherd, a speedster and twin brother of Billy; and Hulkling/Teddy Altman, the son of the original Captain Marvel, he is a shape-shifter with enhanced strength and healing.
The Young Avengers are essentially a teenage version of the Avengers, and whilst this might put some people off, it would be an interesting area to explore. As the Marvel Cinematic Universe gets older and certain actors want to leave having legacy characters that can take over similar roles is a good way of both continuing the universe and having it evolve naturally. The fact that many of the characters have connections to existing heroes within the MCU it would be interesting to see.
Ever since Marvel had the rights to Blade return to them fans of the vampire hunter have been wanting to see him back on the screens. Whilst the previous Blade series was less than successful, introducing him into the Marvel Universe as it stands now would allow the MCU to explore the mystical side further, an area that has only briefly been touched upon with Doctor Strange and the appearance of Ghost Rider in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..
Blade could easily be introduced through Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in a similar way to Ghost Rider, before moving off into his own series. Then again, the universe has been established enough now that he could star in his own series without an introduction. Thanks to the success of the Wesley Snipes films he’s become a popular and recognised character that many people would already be familiar with him, and those who are not could have his backstory easily explained over a few episodes.
Putting Blade on television as a series would also allow the series to be a lot closer to the darker, more adult source material, embracing more of an R-rated horror vibe than it could as a motion picture.
The X-Men have fallen back under Marvel’s control, and whilst this may one day mean that we can see characters like Beast and Wolverine serving in the Avengers, mutants need to be introduced into the MCU first. Rather than jumping straight into an X-Men film, why not bring mutants in using television first instead?
X-Factor would be ideal for TV. Whilst a lot of other X-Men teams are regular super hero teams, X-Factor are, instead, a detective agency. Run by Jamie Madrox, who has the ability to duplicate himself, the team consisted of several ‘lower tier’ X-Men.
With the potential to connect into a larger X-Universe, a cast of characters that could evolve and change, and a format that lends itself well to a story-of-the week style series of investigations, X-Factor could be the perfect way of bringing the mutants into the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe.
A darker side of the Marvel Universe, taking inspiration on a very real and shameful aspect of American history, Isaiah Bradley was one of a group of black soldiers that was experimented upon during World War 2 in an attempt to recreate the Super Soldier Serum that created Captain America.
Bradley was the only survivor of the experiments, and went on to steal a duplicate of the costume worn by Captain America, leading an unsanctioned mission to destroy German research into creating their own super soldiers, a mission that would take him into a concentration camp.
Adapting Bradley’s story into a series would allow Marvel to cash in on the popularity of Captain America, without having to step on the toes of any of the films. The series could be set entirely during World War 2, could utilise the war setting to make itself stand out, and it could also make some very important and valid commentary on both the racism of the time, and that of today.
With the popularity of Black Panther in film, and Black Lightning on television, another black led superhero franchise could only be a good thing.
The ‘First Family of Marvel’, the Fantastic Four are a huge part of the Marvel Universe in the comics, and now that their film rights are back with Marvel Studios it’s only a matter of time before we see them again. But with two fairly lacklustre films, and one really awful one, bearing the name, is film the best place for them to make their return?
I would say that television would be better. It would allow them to spend the time establishing the characters and their interpersonal relationships, it could take longer to explore the results of their accident and subsequent transformation, and it could allow them to become a team more naturally over time rather than in a rush at the end of a two hour film.
More importantly too, it would allow Marvel to reintroduce Doctor Doom, and to do so in a good way. Spend a whole season setting him up, working behind the scenes as an unseen ‘big bad’, or even over more than one season. Give him the room to become what he really is, one of the biggest and most powerful villains in Marvel, rather than the two previous poor incarnations we’ve already been subjected to.
What would you like to see Marvel adapt next from their comic lexicon? Let us know!