MyView: How Can Marvel Make Phase 4 Different And Fresh?


Welcome to the first in a new regular series for MyM BUZZ: MyView. It’s here that out regular writers grapple with a topical question in the shared cult entertainment universe.

Marvel Phase 3 has just begun with a Civil War and will end in 2019 with Infinity Wars. The directors of both of those films, the Russo Brothers, have already spoken in interviews about how they need to deconstruct the format that Marvel movies have set up in the first two phases. Meanwhile, Marvel movie boss Kevin Feige has been saying that he can see Marvel movies having an arc that goes on for decades but even he has been promising that Phase 4 will be “different” (see here). There seems, then, to be a tacit acceptance that for the Marvel blockbuster conveyor belt to keep rumbling on, Marvel cannot just keep on doing the same old same old.

So the question for discussion this time is: What should Marvel do differently in Phase 4 to stop the MCU becoming predictable and staid?

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Iain Hepburn: Kill everyone from phase one and two.

Seriously, clear the decks.  Make the fourth phase a new beginning. No returning characters whatsoever. No cameos, no guest starring roles, no cross-overs.  

Use Infinity Wars as the epic line in the sand nobody crosses, and shutter the old hands, to give Spidey, T’Challa, Carol, Steven and co a bit of breathing room to grow.  Phase three is so heavy with films, there needs to be a bit of a clear-out to protect the brand.

Oh, sod it.  Just do Fraction’s Hawkeye either as a film or a Netflix miniseries instead.


Roxy Simons: There needs to be more recurring villains who are just as good as Loki. There’s yet to be another villain who works as well as the mischievous one in the MCU, especially since most are dispatched within one film, and that’s quite annoying.

Also one thing I really liked about Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War is the relationship between Steve and Bucky and the consequences surrounding it, so more development of character relationships like that would help keep the MCU interesting.

Howard_the_duck 2Dave Golder: A Howard the Duck musical? A She-Hulk and Spider-Woman romantic comedy? A CG animated version of Rom Spaceknight?

Seriously, though, I just want to see them making really interesting choices of directors but giving them a little more creative room. The Russos and Whedon have done wonders with the shopping lists of “things to include” that were foisted on them, but sometimes the things on that checklist were a little too obvious to spot on screen, and they often felt jarring. Sign up somebody like Genndy Tartakovsy and see what he comes up with.

Also, while quipping has become a part of the MCU DNA, it’d be nice to have one or two films a Phase that have a more gritty feel. Not pompous, like the ponderous like Batman V Superman or R-rated like Daredevil, but something a little more in tone like the Bourne movies (Black Widow would be a good candidate for the star). Just for variety, you know. I do like the quipping just maybe not all the time.

ModokNed Newberry: Let the Russo Brothers do whatever they want because they’ve done an amazing job with both of their Cap movies and Civil War in particular has proven that they fully understand these characters. Plus I’d like to see which actor from Community will have a cameo next. Or if that’s not happening, give Modok a standalone movie!

Stewart Sutherland: Cut back on the amount of films they’re making! From 2017 onwards we’re seeing at least three movies a year from Marvel/Disney. I know everyone needs their time to shine, but I believe their individual franchises (Iron Man trilogy, Captain America trilogy) should finish on the third film. So post Infinity Wars, we shouldn’t see anymore individual Cap, Iron Man or Thor movies. Pass the torch to the young team! Can you imagine a Black Panther trilogy – amazing!


Jayne Nelson: I don’t actually think they need to change that much. The films are working at the moment because they contain a wealth of characters we know and love, all of them well-cast and perfectly realised. If this was a TV show we’d stick with them for years and years, even after an eventful season finale in which they defeat a long-running Big Bad – basically, that’s what Infinity War will be: a season finale. And coming back for another season after that is no problem for most shows; all they need is a new Big Bad to replace the last one. We’re just there for the characters we love, aren’t we?

If the Marvel team keep writing the characters at the level we’re used to, we’ll never get bored.

Oh, and elevating a few existing character to star in their own films might be nice (cough Black Widow cough).

iron Man's armour falls in love with him

Sam Halford: Marvel has been great at adding a lot of depth to their heroes and asking deep philosophical questions, but I’d actually like to see them spend some time going full comic book silliness: fighting vampires, have Steve Rogers turn into a werewolf; make Tony Stark’s suit come alive and fall in love with him; make a movie about a girl with the powers of a squirrel! (All real Marvel stories!) We’ve had the serious stuff lets spend some time having fun! 


Alasdair Stuart: Stop making the same movie repeatedly.

Put the pitchforks down, I love the MCU (even Iron Man 2… especially Iron Man 2) but the one well they’ve gone to at least two times too many is “White Male Hero: The Origin” story. It’s becoming staid, and it hobbles them for absolutely no good reason, creatively and with regards to audience good will.

I want Phase 4 to embrace that change. Keep the established characters as a franchise framework but build on the work we’re getting with Black Panther and Captain Marvel to create something extraordinary and different. They have a wealth of characters who could absolutely support their own movies that need, no DESERVE, their time in the spotlight. Here are four:

  • Black Widow: every movie in which Widow is front and centre is made better by her presence and a Widow script almost made it to screen before Iron Man. It’s years overdue.
  • Ms Marvel: Kamala Khan is the 21st Century’s Spider-Man. Exuberant, dorky, funny as hell and with a massive heart, her series is the best thing Marvel currently publishes. It’s time Kamala got the big screen treatment.
  • Valkyrie: Just what the name suggests and a welcome, different perspective on Asgard. Word is the incredible Tessa Thompson may be playing her in Black Panther.
  • Blade: It’s time he came back. Word was Idris Elba had been offered this at one point and, while it’s easy to see why the character was benched, he deserves a shot at the real big time. Better still, now we have a chance at seeing Snipes in the Kris Kristofferson role.

What do you think? Let us know!

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