Happy New Year, everyone. It is now 2015 and it will be another fun and exciting year in the comic book industry. Last year was a busy year for movie announcements. Marvel made a slew of movie announcements including new movies for Captain Marvel, the Black Panther, the Inhumans, and two movies for the final Avengers instalment (Avengers: Infinity War). Meanwhile, DC kept pace with Marvel’s Cinematic Universe (MCU) by announcing movies for the Suicide Squad, Shazam!, Wonder Woman, and two Justice League movies.
Now that we know Marvel’s and DC’s movie plans for the next few years, it’s time to speculate about which characters will follow next and get their own movies. Here are my predictions…
Marvel’s Top Candidates
Moon Knight has been the subject of movie speculation by a few online bloggers and I also agree that Moon Knight will either get his own movie or at the very least, appear in someone else’s movie. Moon Knight is an intriguing character who would appeal as a gritty superhero with connections to the supernatural. He is also a dark character with personal issues so it could be a challenge to portray him too, because many of these themes have been explored in the Batman movies. He is an obscure superhero in Marvel’s catalogue of characters but he could really connect well with audiences if done right.
I also feel that Marvel Studios/Disney will want to expand into Marvel’s Egyptian world of characters and Moon Knight would be a great way to do it. Moon Knight was created by the Egyptian moon god Khonshu and Moon Knight’s introduction could also pave the way to also introduce the super-villain Rama Tut/Kang the Conquerer/Immortus (remember: they are the same person). And Rama Tut could be a fascinating movie villain. Since Fox Studios have the movie rights to the Fantastic Four characters, Marvel will also want to lay claim to Rama Tut before Fox can use him in a Fantastic Four movie, and this could lead to another “Quicksilver situation”, where the same character appears in competing movies. If Moon Knight does appear in a movie, the comic books that would benefit are Werewolf by Night #32 (first appearance of Moon Knight) and Moon Knight #1 (volume 1).
Golden Age Marvel Characters
Marvel Studios have done an excellent job of mining Marvel’s catalogue for interesting characters to showcase in MCU movies. The characters have spanned many eras, from the Silver Age to the Modern Age of comics. Marvel has elevated many of its “second-tier” characters to become household names: Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, and Guardians of the Galaxy have all become pop culture icons. However, Marvel has still not tapped one era in its catalogue of characters: the Golden Age characters. I believe that Disney will want to maximize the use and profit from Marvel’s character library, and this could mean delving into the World War II era characters. I feel that this would be quite easy to do because the first Captain America movie (2011) already laid the groundwork for this era and these characters.
Lets say Marvel Studios is able to re-sign Chris Evans to do another movie, then he could reprise his role as Captain America and star in an All-Winners Squad movie. This was Marvel’s Golden Age superhero team that featured the Sub-Mariner, the Golden Age Human Torch, Toro, and Bucky. Marvel could also lay claim to Namor (the Sub-Mariner) before 20th Century Fox can use him in a Fantastic Four movie. As the name “All-Winners” sounds a bit hokey, Marvel may opt for the modern retconned team, the Invaders.
Either way, the Invaders and the All-Winners Squad have many of the same characters, and this would be an excellent way to introduce the Sub-Mariner and expand the android Human Torch’s story in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. They could also showcase interesting new team dynamics and dysfunctions that are different from the Avengers. In terms of the collecting world, Avengers #71 (first appearance of the Invaders) would see a substantial price increase if an Invaders movie does get the green light. As the movie trailers already show, we will see glimpses of the original Human Torch in the upcoming movie, The Avengers: the Age of Ultron, but this Human Torch could have his full story told, along with his fiery powers showcased, in an Invaders/All-Winners Squad movie. It would be interesting to see if this would cause legal conflict with Fox Studios, as they would not be happy to see another studio tread on the turf of the Fantastic Four’s own Human Torch.
It’s DC’s Turn
Superman Prequel/the World of Krypton
When I watched the Man of Steel movie (2013), I felt that the first half of the movie had a lot promise before it degenerated into an action-packed mess. The Man of Steel examined the Kryptonians in quite some detail and I feel that a separate movie about Krypton and its people would do them justice. While the current buzz has a “World of Krypton” tv series instead of movie, I feel that such interesting characters and stories should also hit the big screen.
The World of Krypton has been explored often in DC’s comics since the Silver Age of comics: it has examined characters such as Superman’s parents Jor-El and Lara Lor-Van and also Kryptonian scientists and Krypton’s criminals in the Phantom Zone. A Krypton movie that revolves space exploration and leads to the creation of the Doomsday monster would be really cool too, and it would finally bring one of Superman’s greatest foes to the silver screen. No guarantee that this will ever happen: it’s just me the fan-boy dreaming of how I would make these movies.
Black Canary/Zatanna/Power Girl (Take Your Pick)
It is highly plausible that DC would follow Marvel’s lead in showcasing female characters in movies. Marvel will be releasing a Captain Marvel movie, but it could easily release a Black Widow spin-off movie as well. While Wonder Woman will already have her own movie in 2017, DC could do a few more movies with female lead characters by drawing from Black Canary, Zatanna, and Power Girl.
Any of these characters could be introduced to audiences by being included in the upcoming Justice League movies before making the leap to a solo movie. DC would have to make one of these characters compelling enough in order to merit a stand-alone movie. Marvel did a great job in making the Black Widow an attractive and interesting character in the Avengers and Captain America movies. She also had a mysterious past and shifting allegiances. Personally, I feel that Black Canary would make the best transition to the movie screen. Canary’s powers would be very appealing as a movie special effect. She has also made appearances on the tv shows Birds of Prey, Smallville, and Arrow, so she is well-known among tv viewers. If the Black Canary does get her own movie, her first appearance issue in Flash Comics #86 and her early Silver Age appearances in Justice League # 21 and #74 would do well in the collectibles market.
The Well is Running Dry
Marvel’s movies initially focused on the “top-tier” characters such as the X-Men, Spider-Man, and the Hulk, and then they moved on to “second tier” characters such as Thor, Iron Man and the Avengers. Now that movies are being planned for more obscure characters such as the Black Panther and the Inhumans, we could say that the “well is running dry” at Marvel as most of the viable movie characters have been used. Some characters such as Daredevil and Iron Fist are already reserved for future tv shows, so this puts another limitation on characters that can be used in movies. It will be difficult for Marvel to tap interesting characters for future movies unless it invades Sony’s and Fox’s turfs by using characters related to the Spider-Man, X-Men, and Fantastic Four film franchises. I think Namor would make a great addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe but he could create legal conflict between Marvel Studios and Fox Studios.
DC has better options for characters because there have been a lot fewer DC movies. Now that movies have been announced for all of the “Big Three” of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, DC can start focusing on its own “second tier” characters such as Hawkman and even Martian Manhunter. The two Justice League movies will play a key role in determining which characters have the potential to star in their own solo movies.