In this post, we’re focusing on the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the new Disney+ franchises we’d like to see. For each series, something important needs to be what it adds to the universe and how it can connect to films, since “everything is connected” under Kevin Feige. Currently, the films and television series expected to release within the Phase 4 lineup include:
TV Series (Disney+)
|Black Widow||The Falcon and the Winter Soldier|
|Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings||Loki|
|Thor: Love and Thunder||Ms. Marvel|
|Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness||Moon Knight|
Films expected to release within the Phase 5 lineup include:
- Black Panther 2
- Captain Marvel 2
- Ant-Man 3
- Fantastic Four
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Based on how Kevin Feige and Marvel organized the previous Disney+ series, we have three regular series and two miniseries ideas for the MCU Phase 5 slate on Disney+:
1. NOVA (Regular Series)
A series that can easily build from prior films while also connecting to upcoming franchises is NOVA, specifically the Sam Alexander version. Sam Alexander, just like Richard Rider, can connect to Guardians of the Galaxy and potentially Captain Marvel 2 via the Nova Corps. Unlike Richard Rider, Sam Alexander can also connect to upcoming franchises such as Ms. Marvel and Young Avengers based on comics and his age. As a latino superhero, Sam Alexander fits the desire of Marvel to feature diversity when possible. On the other hand, Richard Rider carries a rich history as Nova and in comics recently has been paired with Sam in a buddy cop format.
Therefore, a NOVA series featuring both characters would likely “kill two birds with one stone.” You could have Richard Rider as a veteran Nova mentoring and teaching rookie Sam Alexander. It would also be interesting to see if the black helmet Supernovas could make an appearance, considering that black ops unit is where Sam’s helmet originates from. If the series took place during or after the events of Avengers: Infinity War, we could see Richard Rider as one of the few remaining Novas harnessing experimental Power Stone based technology, providing Nova with a power-level in between Yon-Rogg and Captain Marvel, which is appropriate for the MCU. Read our editorial where we talk more about that idea HERE.
2. The X-Men (Regular Series)
The X-Men are one of the most popular franchises in Marvel history, which makes their potential as a Disney+ series less than 10%. Personally, I think the episodic format is the best way to approach the X-Men, if the series truly wants to explore the story of teenagers balancing puberty, superhuman abilities, discrimination, and the contemporary high school experience. We’ve seen Marvel approach overlapping aspects with the Tom Holland Spider-Man series, yet that likely wouldn’t work with an ensemble cast needing proper screen time. If the X-Men received the MCU treatment, I’d love to see each character deal with the following main themes (based on their comic book counterpart backstories and struggles):
- Beast: Insecurity, bullying, and acceptance
- Cyclops: Abandonment, childhood trauma, and radicalism
- Iceman: coming out as gay, LGBT prejudice, and following own dreams vs parent’s desires
- Jean Grey: Socio-economic privilege and mental health
- Storm: Foreign student/fish out of water, racism, and sexual assault
An inspiration and great template for my approach is Skam, a Norwegian teen drama which featured an ensemble cast that rotated main character focus each season. If produced, Marvel’s approach to the X-Men could be the best interpretation, with the screen time and episodic structure of television providing proper attention on the characters and social commentary which surrounded their original comics. On the theatrical front, this gives breathing space for movie audiences from the FOX films while the Disney+ series provides a foundation for future Mutant adventures.
3. Black Panther Anthology Series (Regular Series)
When Black Panther released in 2018, several great moments surrounded the mythology and history of the Black Panther title. We saw a vision of Bashenga, the first Black Panther, and how he united the several tribes of Wakanda after gaining the Heart-Shaped Herb from Bast. Since then, many Black Panthers have protected Wakanda from known and unknown threats leading up to T’Challa. With Marvel making a Moon Knight series it can connect to Black Panther through the deities of Bast and Khonshu, since they are within the same Pantheon.
An anthology series with a new Black Panther each season could be a creative way of exploring one of the most exclusive locations in the MCU. We can view early political conflicts with the Jabari Tribe, the invasion by Ulysses Klaue’s great-grandfather in the 19th century, prior interactions with advanced nations like Atlantis, and potential missions by the Hatut Zeraze (Wakandan Secret Police). The series can also connect to any upcoming Black Panther sequels by laying the foundation for antagonists such as Shadow King that can appear across multiple generations and individuals.
4. Blue Marvel (Miniseries)
With The Falcon and the Winter Soldier rumored to introduced failed super solider attempts over the decades between World War II and present day, a character that could be connected is Blue Marvel. His character was a member of the Marine Corps serving in the Korean War before joining a scientific project based on anti-matter and the Negative Zone. When an explosion happens, he gains superhuman abilities such as enhanced strength, speed, flight, durability, senses, longevity, and anti-matter/energy absorption and manipulation. Unfortunately, due to the 1960s time period and racism, he had very few missions before a forced retirement. His introduction would make him one of the most powerful heroes in the MCU next to Thor and Captain Marvel.
If he were to be introduced to the MCU, we could receive a show set in the 1960s which highlights topics such as racism towards heroes. His accident with the Anti-Matter reactor could be similar to the explosion with the Quantum Realm that gave Ghost her abilities. Based on the time period, Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. would have been around which could serve as the program he worked for in the MCU. Based on their studies with the Tesseract (Space Stone) it would explain creating a bridge to the Negative Zone, like his comics origin, which could connect this series with the Captain Marvel and Fantastic Four franchises. Providing further background on Tesseract experimentation and how others could be empowered like Captain Marvel would be interesting, it would also help establish the MCU Ultimates team.
5. Norrin Radd: The Silver Surfer (Miniseries)
The MCU is getting more cosmic and the Fantastic Four are in development, which can only mean Galactus is coming at some point. Joining Galactus is usually the Silver Surfer, who in his own right has enough rich stories and character interactions to warrant a series. The tragedy of the Silver Surfer, a man who sacrifices his free will and life to save his family and people, is a very emotional tale. If a Fantastic Four reboot had to cram introducing the FF, Galactus, and Silver Surfer it may be too much for a single film to properly balance. Galactus’ character doesn’t even need to fully appear until maybe the finale, as he can show up as a vaguely characterized threat until the Norrin Radd communicates with him to become his cosmic herald.
In my opinion, a Silver Surfer miniseries would best function as a series featuring Norrin Radd already as Galactus’ herald scouting potential worlds. Galactus could have been in a type of slumber since his last world only to be awaken from the events of Avengers: Endgame. As the Surfer, he can be worn and numb to his role in the universe. When he meets an inhabitant of a certain planet that reminds him of his home world, we can receive flashbacks in a This Is Us approach connecting what happened then to what’s happening currently. The series could serve as a rediscovery of who Norrin Radd is and by the end of the miniseries, his “humanity” flickers again as he tries finding non-sentient worlds instead of sentient ones. Cameos could include Captain Marvel, Talos, Thor, and other cosmic characters the Surfer may run into while searching worlds.