Now that Joss Whedon has signed a deal through 2015 to be the creative mastermind behind the Marvel cinematic universe, helping to shape The Avengers 2, Captain America; The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the Avengers spin-off TV series, he’s going to need some more characters to play with (but hopefully not kill horribly). Here’s a look at five Marvel Comics stalwarts that would fit it in well with Thor, Cap, Iron Man and the current crop of established characters from Marvel Studios.
5.) Ms. Marvel
Poor ScarJo, all alone in the big superhero boys club that comprises the current Marvel cinematic universe. In the six movies set in the universe thus far, the female hero contingent consists of ScarJo’s Black Widow, Sif from Thor, and S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill, I suppose. It’s obvious the universe needs some more girl power, and they don’t come much more powerful than Carol Danvers, aka Ms. Marvel, aka Binary, aka Warbird, aka Captain Marvel (don’t ask, it’s complicated). Carol is bold, bright, blonde, and best of all – she has strengths and abilities right up there with The Hulk and Thor, which would serve as a nice complement to The Black Widow’s street-level asskickery.
4.) Power Man & Iron Fist
I’m putting these guys together in one entry because they’ve been closely associated as a team since the late 1970’s when they kicked ass around the Marvel Universe in their own title, which ran until 1986. Iron Fist, who possesses the power of the molten heart of the dragon Shou-Lao The Undying, was a product of the Kung-Fu craze of the early 1970’s (along with Shang-Chi). His magical, glowing “iron fist” of power and super-enhanced martial arts ability would be a great addition to fast-paced action scenes in a future Captain America or Avengers film. Plus, how cool is that green and yellow costume?!
Luke Cage, aka Power Man, was one of the first African-American superheroes to star in his own ongoing series – Luke Cage: Hero For Hire. Cage was wrongly imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit, and so to gain an early parole, he volunteered for a secret experimental procedure that was supposed to make him immune to all illnesses. Instead, it gave him steel-hard “bulletproof” skin, and enhanced muscle mass. In his early days, Cage was considered a bit of a racist caricature, spouting off “jive” talk like his famous catch phrase, “SWEET CHRISTMAS!” But since then, Luke Cage has successfully made the transition from cheesey, 1970’s blaxploitation icon to modern-day, no frills street-level badass. He’s a no-nonsense tough guy whose character dynamic would bounce well off of someone like Robert Downey Jr.’s brash, cocky Tony Stark.
3.) Namor, The Sub-Mariner
Namor has strong ties to the Fantastic Four and X-Men (he’s a mutant), so I’m not entirely sure if he’s owned by FOX, but he’s played a huge role in the Marvel universe proper for decades and may be available for use in the world that The Avengers inhabit. Namor is not only the first mutant to ever appear in Marvel Comics, but he’s also one of the first superheroes ever created. He first appeared in 1939, making him just as old as Superman!
Namor is the ruler of the undersea kingdom of Atlantis, and is kind of a dick. He doesn’t care much for us “surface-dwellers” or non-mutants, and has spent most of his career switching between aggressive ocean-dwelling invader, and reluctant ally to heroes like the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. Namor can breathe underwater (naturally), the wings on his ankles give him the power of flight, and he is one of the strongest heroes in the Marvel universe – charging into battle with his famous cry, “IMPERIOUS REX!” Seriously, this guy will kick your ass. Namor might fit in best during a World War II flashback in a Captain America movie, as he was once part of The Invaders – a team made up of himself, Cap, and the original Human Torch (whose costume can be seen briefly in Captain America: The First Avenger.)
2.) Dr. Strange
Earth’s “Sorcerer Supreme” would help bring a bit more magic into the Marvel cinematic universe, opening doors to the mystical and macabre that heroes like Captain America and Iron Man have only peeked through in previous films. Doctor Strange is the most powerful magician in the cosmos, using his famous Cloak of Levitation, Book of Vishanti, and the Eye of Agamotto to battle demons and evil sorcerers. He’s also owns one of the coolest pieces of real estate in the Marvel universe, the infamous Sanctum Santorum in Greenwich Village, which features the iconic round skylight window. Before Guardians of the Galaxy was announced, the Doc here was rumored to be getting his own solo film, and that’s probably the best way to go to introduce him into the Marvel Universe.
1.) The Black Panther
The Black Panther is kind of like Batman, if Batman were the King and ruler of a powerful African nation, that is. Known as T’Challa, The Black Panther is the leader of the Panther tribe of Wakanda, an African country that mines the most precious substance in the Marvel Universe: the mighty metal known as vibranium (which we’ve seen used to make Captain America’s shield). But whereas Batman is just a normal human being, The Black Panther is connected to a mystical panther God, who imbues him with strength, agility, stamina, speed, and senses that exceed those of any mortal man. In short, he’s just plain badass.
He also has tremendous historical significance, as The Black Panther was the very first super-powered black character in comics history (there were others, but they were mostly western characters with no powers). T’Challa is a strong and noble character who has a long and storied history as a member of The Avengers in the comic books, so he’d fit right in with the team up on the silver screen.