With all of the recent excitement surrounding the newest Captain America: Civil War trailer, I thought now would be a fun time to post a column I’ve been wanting to do for a while. I’ve been reading comics – Marvel, in particular – since I was two years old. (Yes, I was reading at two.) I never looked back. I have thousands upon thousands of comics and that’s where most of my extra money goes. I go to as many conventions as I can, buy original art and commissions, and just immerse myself in that world in every way I can manage. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a mixture of my two favorite hobbies – Marvel and movies. And I can’t get enough. What Marvel Studios has accomplished goes far beyond anything that any other movie studio has ever achieved and they just keep getting braver, bolder, smarter, and better (including their TV programming. Jessica Jones was better than any film I saw in 2015 and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues to be the best comic book show on traditional TV, by a wide margin.).
Since Marvel has shown a willingness to let their freak flag fly and embrace the pure craziness of their universe, there are unlimited possibilities. Marvel truly trusts their characters as well as their audience and it pays off for all involved, time and time and again. Being aware of that, these are the MCU films that I most want to see, listed alphabetically. (When I have casting ideas, I’ll include those, too. But, honestly, without being there for auditions, it’s mostly impossible for anyone to say who would really be a good fit for certain roles. Most are just suggestions that I think would be worth a look.)
And these should ALL be PG-13, with one noted exception.
ADVENTURE INTO FEAR WITH MAN-THING AND HOWARD THE DUCK
Both Man-Thing and Howard the Duck have been featured in their own films and neither of the films were particularly well-received or are well-regarded, today. Howard’s film was actually the first theatrical feature-length film ever based on a Marvel character. But, despite a good effort by those involved, it failed to treat its audience or characters with respect and came off as silly. Man-Thing’s film was slated to be released theatrically but the release was cancelled and it was instead aired on what was then the Sci-Fi network. It had its strengths, but the majority of the cast was awful and, again, the material wasn’t taken as seriously as it should have been.
Nonetheless, both of these characters are loved by fans and it wasn’t their fault that their movies didn’t live up to their potential. Howard got a resurgence in popularity due to his appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy and most fans aren’t even aware that Man-Thing had a movie so he doesn’t really need to overcome that failure. Putting them together (as Howard first appeared in Adventure Into Fear #19 – Man-Thing’s first series) would allow for a unique combination of horror and humor. It would stand out from the typical blockbuster and really wouldn’t even need to cost that much, relatively speaking. The story could go anywhere and the tone could probably be a mix of the tones of GOTG, the Lord of the Rings series, and House of Wax. Seeing as how the late, great Steve Gerber was a primary writer for the early days of both, just borrow from his stories and make this thing happen! (Catch up on those classic Man-Thing and Howard the Duck adventures!)
Howard the Duck – Seth Green
Ted Sallis – Jon Hamm
Beverly Switzler – Amanda Righetti
Jennifer Kale – Britt Robertson
Ellen Brandt – Emma Roberts
Avengers Academy was a series created and launched by writer Christos Gage and artist Mike McKone that focused on a new group of younger characters who were being trained by experienced heroes to hopefully one day reach their potential and become Avengers. It’s simply one of my favorite series in comic book history. Unpredictable twists and turns punctuate layered, meaningful stories and complex, realistic characters. Humor, drama, action . . . it’s all there in Avengers Academy. A film would introduce a new group of characters (which the MCU will need, sooner or later) while not abandoning the old guard. It would also give younger fans some characters to better relate to and provide a fresh, younger perspective on the world that the MCU has been absent of, so far (though with the acquisition of Spider-Man, that will change, soon). Replace Hank Pym as an instructor with Scott Lang and we’re off and running! (Start your Avengers Academy addiction, now!)
Scott Lang – Paul Rudd
Tigra – Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Reptil – Diego Boneta
Veil – Chloe Grace Moretz
Finesse – Alicia Vikander
Striker – Glen Powell
Hazmat – ???
Mettle – John Boyega
White Tiger – Christian Serratos
Ka-Zar and Shanna
Quick question: What’s the MCU truly missing? DINOSAURS! Ka-Zar is a modern-day King of the Jungle who lives with his wife Shanna, the She-Devil, and his best friend Zabu (a saber-toothed tiger) in the Savage Land. The Savage Land is a hidden prehistoric pocket of Antarctica that exists in modern day. So, this would be a badass movie with dinosaurs (Devil Dinosaur and Moon Boy is my suggestion), mastodons, volcanos, and beautiful people barely dressed in animal skins that still takes place in the here and now. So, the film could still have direct ties to the rest of the MCU while feeling completely different from anything we’ve seen before. I think of any of the films starring new movie characters on this list, this one would have the greatest potential for huge financial success. (Book your flight to the Savage Land here!)
Ka-Zar – Charlie Hunnam
Shanna – Ashley Benson
High Evolutionary – Daniel Day Lewis
I’m hardly the first one to suggest this idea and I won’t be the last. And that’s because it’s a great idea. We’ve heard excuses as to why it would be hard to do. We’ve heard that it would be tough because, throughout this entire epic, Hulk only reverts back to Banner once, and only for a few minutes. Solution: uhhhhh, change it? Now, we’re also hearing that the distribution rights for solo Hulk movies are still somehow entangled with Universal Pictures, making it a complicated issue. So, work it out. If Marvel can do it with Sony to be able to use Spider-Man, they can do it with Universal. It’s not as if their relationship with Universal is as contentious as their relationship with Fox (that we know of). But this is basically Gladiator starring the Hulk, but about 6,000 times more awesome. At some point, this really needs to happen. (It can happen for you by clicking here!)
Hulk/Bruce Banner – Mark Ruffalo
The Red King – Viggo Mortenson
Caiera – Emilia Clarke
Elloe Kaifi – Felicity Jones
Hiroim the Shamed – Iain Glen
This might seem a little redundant in the wake of the upcoming Infinity War film(s), but, despite the fact that practically the entire Marvel Universe is involved in both stories, the differences are significant enough to make this worthwhile. And the story is so simple, too (unlike the 2015 version). The Beyonder – a being with Cosmic-level powers – transports the major heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe to Battleworld just to force them to fight and see who wins. How could this go wrong? It would be helped if Marvel and Disney could get the Fantastic Four rights back from Fox. And you see those X-Men up there? None of them could be in it, either, with things as they are. But none of those issues keep me from wanting this to happen! (Find yourself some spiffy new duds on Battleworld here!)
All of the people they’re currently using
The Sensational She-Hulk
Most people have no idea who She-Hulk is, as a character. She has the baseline power of the Hulk (her cousin) but she keeps her intelligence . . . her very high-level intelligence. She’s a practicing lawyer with her own firm. She has the wit of Spider-Man and Star-Lord. And she was breaking the fourth wall (as seen above) years before Deadpool even existed. She’s also unapologetically female in a time when a woman acting like a woman is considered to be perpetuating a stereotype, rather than retaining her natural agency and just being herself. Everybody should be free to be who they are and she loves partying, dressing nice, and having sex. In other words, despite the fact that she can lift 100 tons on the outside, on the inside, she’s a regular person who is completely at home within herself. More power to her. She’s also endlessly entertaining and her origin even makes sense. I suggest this be a mix of the legendary John Byrne run (his was the definitive take – read the first part here) and the recent Charles Soule run (here’s Volume 1). This would be an electric mix of action and spectacle, humor, character, and unpredictability. I need this to happen.
She-Hulk – Eliza Dushku (The only choice. The only choice.)
Bruce Banner – Mark Ruffalo
Hellcat – Rachael Taylor
Absorbing Man – Brian Patrick Wade
Titania – Jessica Biel
Angie Huang – Amy Hill
Spider-Man: Kraven’s Last Hunt
This is my favorite Spider-Man story of all-time. This is the story of Kraven the Hunter finally achieving his final goal in life: defeating Spider-Man. What happens to a person when they have nothing left to accomplish? It’s such a deep, dark story – and it would need to be balanced out with Spider-Man’s (and Marvel’s) trademark humor – but it’s a powerful tale that is completely unlike most comic book stories. It deserves to be told and audiences deserve to see it. Marvel gaining access to Spider-Man is the greatest thing to ever happen in the world of movies, in my opinion. There’s a lot of gold to mine (and let’s leave the Osborns out of it, for now) and this would just be the first nugget. (Go on the ultimate safari with Kraven here!)
Spider-Man – Tom Holland
Kraven – Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Black Cat – Nicola Peltz
Gwen Stacy – AnnaSophia Robb
Mary Jane Watson – Courtney Eaton
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is currently my favorite ongoing comic book. Every page from writer Ryan North and artist Erica Henderson is a pure delight and endlessly entertaining. It’s also funny enough that I find myself literally, actually laughing out loud many times per issue. This would be a zany comedy, first, and an action movie, second. And I think it should actually be rated PG. This should be accessible by and appropriate for anyone of any age. Squirrel Girl is about as relatable as a comic character can get and she deserves a chance to worm her way into the hearts of the general public. (Eat nuts and kick butts while reading Volume 1!)
Squirrel Girl – Abigail Breslin
Nancy Whitehead – Keke Palmer
Chipmunk Hunk – ???
Koi Boi – ???
I actually had one more I wanted to include, but it’s a little too high concept, I think, so I left it off. But these are eight movies that I dream might one day become a reality, if we all pray to Marvel’s Kevin Feige REALLY, REALLY HARD! Have a good one, folks!