So the third Marvel Cinematic Universe slate is almost at the final point with Avengers: Endgame just a few months away. There are so many possibilities regarding that film after the ending of Infinity War and Ant-Man & the Wasp, and even more possibilities for the future of the MCU given that we really have no idea where Endgame will leave us. In this post I will be going through a list of ten comic-book arcs that I would love to see adapted for Phase 4, with a little about each arc and how it could aid the MCU’s overall story! Originally the list was to be five arcs but a few of them I just couldn’t decide between so now it is ten, also reports have varied about the length of Phase 4. Some reports indicate that the Phase’s films won’t be split up into slates and some say that Phase 4 will follow the slate-structure, either way, Kevin Feige said that they have “at least twenty” films planned which is quite a few. Although I’m sure we won’t know all of them on the first reveal.
Marvel Studios’ president Kevin Feige has stated that Phase 4 of the MCU will be heavily focused on the vast cosmos of Marvel, which has been introduced to us briefly in films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor: Raganarok, and Avengers: Infinity War. However I’m sure there will be story-lines tying Earth’s characters into the fold too, and while it is hard to predict where the future of the MCU is heading, these are just the arcs that I would personally love to see adapted if the arcs fitted. So without further waiting, let’s kick the list off!
I know what a lot of you are probably thinking, Infinity served as one of the comic-books that was inspiration for 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War regarding Thanos’ invasion of Earth through the Black Order and the battle taking place at Wakanda. However the comic-book arc of Infinity boasted far more than just a focus on Thanos and his invasion and that’s the part I want to talk about in regards to Infinity.
In the 2013 comic-book arc ‘Infinity’ written by Jonathan Hickman the whole universe is threatened by a race known simply as ‘The Builders’ who are said to be the oldest race in the universe. The Builders go from planet to planet erasing all life upon them in order to start again. The Builders are heading to earth to destroy it however many other races are in danger as they know their worlds will also be targeted and so in the story a resistance is formed against the Builders and named the Galactic Council. Upon this council sat an unlikely group of allies including Annihilus, the Skrull Emperor Kl’rt, and Kree Supreme Intelligence. The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy prepare to battle the Builders on two fronts, in space, bringing an impressive roster of heroes to join the Galactic Council’s ranks and on Earth. While this story does feature Thanos and his search for the Infinity Stones I feel that the other part of the story, with the Builders and Galactic Council, could be adapted suitably well. It would also combine Earth with a full-front space conflict that could be established over a few films and leading to a final film, this arc in the MCU could also see us introduced to the Illuminati.
Seeing as the Fox-Marvel deal is coming to completion, and we will be introduced into various Fox characters, a story-line such as Infinity is one of many that would be a great place to set up the shadow-organisation of super-humans secretly defending earth.
9. The Thanos Imperative
Okay so this gets a bit tricky because we do not know the fate of Thanos. He may die in Avengers: Endgame and if so, adapting this story would become tricky. Not impossible but more difficult.
So if Thanos is to die in Avengers: Endgame, that doesn’t mean he couldn’t return. Various characters in comics have come back to life through a variety of methods, and I’m sure this is something the MCU stories would be capable of doing too. However, a running theory for the story of Avengers: Endgame is that it will end with Thanos being put into an immense cosmic prison, or using something to do with the dimensional travel that is rumoured to take place. Anyway, The Thanos Imperative is a story that sees Thanos escape from his prison where he was being guarded by the Guardians of the Galaxy while Nova pursues Quasar while Magus and the Universal Church of Truth tear open the ‘Fault’ which is a massive rip in the universe leading to a seemingly infinite amount of realities through space and time. Through it comes monstrous creatures led by an alternative Captain Marvel ‘Lord Mar-Vell’ who is the existing leader of the Cancerverse (which is a reality in which Death itself has been banished from so Life runs rampant and seeks to spread his/its plague to all over verses). The Guardians of the Galaxy and Nova release Thanos who teams up with them to battle those from the Cancerverse. Nova then also leads another team to pursue another character.
The Thanos Imperative would be a great story to adapt for the Guardians of the Galaxy, and pending the finale of the third slate and Endgame, could see Thanos return to the screen for another film, as well as spinning Thanos into a new light too.
8. X-Men: Worlds Apart
This is a story I’ve wanted to see on the big screen for a while but there was absolutely no chance of it happening until the Fox-Marvel deal became apparent. X-Men: World’s Apart puts a spot light on Storm who is a character I feel deserves to be at the fore-front of the X-Men in the MCU.
Storm, over the course of her life, has been many things: A thief. A Goddess. An X-Man. A Wife. A Queen. But then an mysterious murder is committed in Wakanda by a fellow mutant and Storm takes it upon herself to investigate, the events which then transpire force her into a position where she must choose to stand with either her husband; the Black Panther and Wakanda, or with her own people; the X-Men and mutants across the world. I feel this arc would integrate really well, after establishing the mutants it could be an arc such as this which paves the way for Avengers vs X-Men; bringing tension between two powerful cultures. Storm is a character that could appear in the MCU quite effortlessly.
Once the mutants and X-Men have been introduced into the universe, Storm could make her first MCU debut in a credit scene for Black Panther 2 as a potential love interest for the character, a marriage to make an alliance with mutant-kind and the Avengers, or at least with Wakanda. Also it would be rather excellent to watch a film centered around a black-female character, tying into future Avengers and X-Men films.
7. New Avengers: Breakout
The New Avengers: Breakout could serve as one of the first few films of the new Phase and it wouldn’t require a huge amount of changes to the story, a major reason I’ve included this story is Sentry. Sentry is someone I think would make a great addition to the MCU and Breakout serves as his major origin. Kind of.
The New Avengers: Breakout is set just after the devastation of Avengers: Disassembled where Scarlet Witch dismantles or disassmbles the Avengers by unleashing a full force of power. The Avengers are now disbanded but Captain America unites a New team of Spider-Man, Spider-Girl, Wolverine and Iron Man, who are later joined by Ronin (Hawkeye) and Luke Cage too, to join himself and journey to the Raft (you know, the prison from 2016’s Civil War film, only larger and containing much more powerful characters). Electro is leading a prison escape at the Raft, after he was hired to make sure someone gets free, only over thirty inmates try and escape too. Robert Reynolds is a prisoner of the Raft, he had voluntarily imprisoned himself for the murder of his wife, Lindy Reynolds. During a jailbreak at the Raft, Sentry turns and defends several of the Avengers from Carnage, who had already beaten several members to a standstill. Sentry easily overpowers Carnage, flies him to the edges of the atmosphere, and tears him in two. Taking a great interest in the now free Sentry, the Avengers begin investigating his dark persona. They soon realize that the Void is actually the result of a cerebral virus created by the villain known as Mastermind. After seeking help, Robert Reynolds is freed from his shackles to the virus by Emma Frost and he recalls much about his life, including that he never actually killed his wife and that his Watchtower stood atop Stark Tower, where he had subconsciously hidden it from public view. With his memory recovered, he joins with the Avengers and begins fighting alongside them, becoming a member of the New Avengers himself.
The New Avengers: Breakout would be the perfect film to introduce Sentry and also form a new line-up of Avenger members, maybe making it the first film to feature Wolverine after the X-Men have been introduced or even before, making Wolverine one of the first mutant-contact characters. Although I’d prefer if Marvel didn’t do what Fox did and make him the major-contact characters, rather, have him as one of them alongside Storm, Cyclops and Xavier.
6. World War Hulk
World War Hulk is one of the best Marvel arcs ever to have been written and in the comics is also a sequel to Planet Hulk. The reason I’ve not put the Planet Hulk stoey as well is that aspects of that story were already covered in Thor: Ragnarok and I think that the arcs of Planet Hulk and World War Hulk could be covered in one film rather than two.
Planet Hulk is a story that sees Hulk exiled to an alien planet by the Illuminati who have deemed his destructive nature too dangerous to be contained to Earth, so they sent him in a shuttle up into space and aimed him towards a peaceful planet so that he could be both free and at peace. However the shuttle lands on a ravaged planet and Hulk is forced into being a gladiator before earning his freedom, toppling the current regime and becoming the planet’s ruler – then his family are killed on the shuttle he arrived in and so heads back to Earth. That was a very brief description of it for the point of this post. World War Hulk sees Hulk return to Earth, blaming the Illuminati for her death, and significantly more powerful than ever because of his time spent absorbing the powerful radiation levels on Planet Sakaar – the planet he was a ruler of. Hulk then rampages across the world destroying much of the cities he comes across and Earth’s heroes group together to try and take him down, which ultimately doesn’t succeed until a character known as Sentry intervenes and stalemates Hulk. The battle between the two of them almost completely destroys the west coast. The arcs of Planet Hulk and World War Hulk could be condensed into a singular film, if World War Hulk sees Hulk return from somewhere else from a story before, of him with a family somewhere else. World War Hulk could also serve as film debut for Sentry, who could previously have appeared in an end-credit scene. World War Hulk would be a tremendous story to adapt into the MCU, maybe even serving as Hulk’s last outing.
5. Avengers: Disassembled
Avengers: Disassembled may well be one of the most devastating stories to come from Marvel Comics. Avengers: Disassembled is a big 2004 crossover story-line published by Marvel Comics involving the Avengers, Fantastic Four, Captain America, Spider-Man and Thor. It sees the beginning of Brian Michael Bendis’ Avengers run with the destruction of the existing traditional roster, and exile of several key members of the team.
A big character in this arc is Scarlet Witch. In fact, she’s really the whole point of it all, and is very much the main reason behind the events of Disassembled and House of M which came on after it. When the Wasp began a romantic relationship with Hawkeye, she would constantly talk to Wanda about the developments of their romance. One day after Wasp had a few drinks, she revealed to Wanda that she once had children that were hidden to her. This triggered something deep inside Wanda’s mind, as I’m sure it would most people, only most people aren’t capable of warping reality. She sought out her former teacher, Agatha Harkness to learn the truth, and then murdered Agatha for the betrayal. Then Wanda went on to exact her revenge on her fellow Avengers. She hit each of them unexpectedly and even blew up the Avengers Mansion. At this point, it was believed that Wanda was hardly herself; driven mad by grief and trauma and the new-found memories of her now-lost children. It’s hinted that what she did to the other Avengers was unknown even to her, and their destruction was created on a subconscious level. And to top this all off, the Kree arrive (generated by Wanda’s magic) and Hawkeye sacrifices his life to bring down the Kree warship. Doctor Strange then led the remaining Avengers to Wanda who had begun creating a fake reality around her composed of those she cared for. The arrival of the Avengers threatened this peace and the existence of the children that she had once again willed into being and she battled Doctor Strange who defeated and subdued her but it was actually Magneto, Scarlet Witch’s father, who arrived to rescue her. Magneto took Wanda back to Genosha in hopes of healing her broken mind. And this all seemed well until events that led to little story called House of M happened, which, if you hadn’t guessed, was not well.
Avengers: Disassembled is certainly the darkest day of the Avengers’ history. Not only were many of the team’s roster killed but the powers at hand almost threatened the entire world. Scarlet Witch’s trauma and breakdown shook reality and sent ripples through the multiverse. Not only was this arc so big at the time, it also pathed the way directly into House of M and also set up for Avengers vs X-Men, so this story would be immense to have in the MCU. We already have Scarlet Witch but not as a mutant in the MCU, however, although I would prefer her to be a mutant and there may be a way to make that happen, it wouldn’t be essential for this as there would be other ways to make her powers grow exponentially as she discovers her potential. In terms of stories that would make for a darker day than Infinity War, Disassembled is certainly one of the few.
4. Avengers vs X-Men
While Marvel have said that the MCU future will focus on the cosmic side, it is hard to ignore that most of Marvel’s biggest assets are Earth-bound. The X-Men are arguably the biggest of those assets, making up a huge part of the stories and cross-over events. Avengers vs X-Men is possibly one of the best crossover events and as the title may imply, the X-Men play a huge role.
Avengers vs X-Men is an arc that incorporates many, many characters from both sides. The story sees both the Avengers and the X-Men concerned that the Phoenix Force is coming to Earth and both presume that the to-be host is a young mutant called Hope Summers. Cyclops, leading the X-Men, wants Hope to take the Phoenix in order to use the almighty power to rebuild and re-power the mutant population after the decimation caused by Scarlet Witch’s “No More Mutants” of House of M almost completely rid the world of mutants. While the Avengers are understandably concerned that the Phoenix will be used to destroy the Avengers and human-kind. This causes conflict with the remainder of the mutant population and the Avengers, although several mutants refuse to take sides, including Wolverine and Beast who work as teachers at one of the schools. The conflict between those that do fight however is immense taking place even on the Moon as well as on Earth. We also see the Avengers square off against the Phoenix Force in space, demonstrating how supremely powerful the cosmic entity is as it fights off an impressive roster of heroes including Thor, Vision, Captain Marvel and even Blue Marvel. Ultimately the Phoenix Force does take a host but it is not Hope, it is instead five mutants. Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magik, Colossus and Namor take the power and that’s when the war becomes desperate for the Avengers. In this event also sees some rather shocking events transpire.
Avengers vs X-Men would most probably have to be a penultimate story, being the last film in a series of Avenger and X-Men sequels that ties them both together. And of course it would have to be set way down the line after the X-Men and various, important mutant characters, had been introduced but it is one that I, like many fans, are really hoping will come to fruition.
Annihilation is a tremendous cross-over event worthy of the name. Annhilation is a 2006 cross over event that highlights several outer-space characters including the Guardians of the Galaxy, Galactus, the Annhilators, Silver Surfer, and Thanos, as well as the Annihilation Wave and Annihilus himself.
Annihilation is an absolutely mental arc, an impressive cross over event seeing many elements of Marvel’s universe put against each other. Annihilation is probably the greatest cosmic-crossover event, one of the largest and one of the most devastating. It features several locations and events that we’ve already seen in the MCU such as the Kyln from Guardians of the Galaxy. The story centers on the big baddie Annihilus as he declares war, and with his unstoppable Annihilation Wave, he swarms into the Marvel Universe, demolishing all in its path with only a handful of heroes resisting his grasp. Nova is given advice from Drax the Destroyer and Silver Surfer seeks out Galactus for aid. Nova and Quasar’s army leads the charge, but as heroes fall and Annihilus rises, growing stronger and stronger, an unlikely character is called upon for a last hope. Thanos himself. Although that’s not to say they couldn’t use another character for as much as I love Thanos, there are others worthy of a spot light. Annihilation is told through a variety of different stories, from the perspective of Thanos, Drax, Nova, Silver Surfer, Super-Skrull, the Heralds of Galactus, and Ronan the Accuser. Ultimately, the Annihilation story is one of the biggest cross overs in Marvel’s history, with fantastic action and mind-warping tension as Annihilus’ grows in power.
This is a story that would need to be altered if a variety of the characters died/remained dead such as Ronan the Accuser and others which are inevitably going to depart after Endgame and would have to be after Galactus was introduced as well as his Heralds and the Negative Zone – Annihilus’ home realm would have to be at least hinted at.
2. House of M
Now this would take some time to set up, so if we were to see this, it wouldn’t be until way, way down the line. However this arc is one of my all time favourites and would, if crafted properly, be an absolutely insane arc to see on the big screen.
The majority of House of M takes place in an alternative universe after Scarlet Witch suffers a mental breakdown and tries to alter the very fabric of reality to recreate her lost children after learning that they had been taken from her and her memories of them had been erased. In this new reality, the world is vastly different. Spider-Man is a celebrity married to Gwen Stacy; Cyclops and Emma Frost are happily married; Doctor Strange is a psychologist; and Carol Danvers is Captain Marvel, America’s most beloved superhero. Wolverine, upon waking up, recalls all of his lost memories and knows this new world is a lie. Not only are characters’ lives very different but the mutant population is dominant over humans. Mutants rule humans, and Magneto and his “House of M” rules mutants. Wolverine then is confronted by his “teammates” in the Red Guard who are a mutant elite task force. Wolverine then escapes and finds the human resistance. The resistance form an attack plan and head directly to Magneto to execute it, during this attack the real truth of what has happened and how this world and reality were created, comes to light, and Scarlet Witch beings to lash out. She then utters “No more mutants.” Everything turns to white once again. Upon returning to the normal 616 reality the world learns that mutants have lost their powers, and the number of mutants who have kept them in the world has dropped from thousands to a few hundred. Hank Pym warns that all these powers could not simply vanish, but are contained somewhere, and then a colossal red ribbon begins to orbit earth; the Phoenix Force is returning, and this begins the events leading to Avengers vs X-Men.
As I said above, this story would have to be really far down the line after the X-Men had been introduced and had several films under their belt. The MCU as a whole would be very different too and depending on which characters die or leave the roster after Endgame, adapting this would have to accommodate for those character changes too. However this story would be almighty if adapted, it could set up a number of plot lines including Avengers vs X-Men which is listed above.
1. The Galactus Trilogy
This three-part comic epic from Stan Lee and Jack Kirby may very well be one of the most important cosmic story-lines Marvel has ever produced and so it really must be adapted into the MCU and could definitely be adapted into a singular film. The comic story-line also marked the first appearance/mention of the Negative Zone – a parallel Earth, where-in lives Annihilus, and a realm that has played a prominent role in other Marvel Cosmic arcs such as the “Kree/Skrull War.”
The Galactus Trilogy starts with focus on Silver Surfer as he flies through the Andromeda Galaxy which attracts the attention of the Skrulls. The Skrulls do all that they can to hide the presence of their planet from the view of the Surfer, for they know that if the Silver Surfer is seen, his master; the planet devouring Galactus, won’t be far behind. Then, on Earth, we see the Fantastic Four as they look up and see the entire skyline apparently engulfed in flames. When they return to the Baxter Building to research this they are confronted by a character known as “The Watcher” and he informs them that he has created a barrier around Earth to shield it, and then tells them of Galactus and that if he were to arrive, he would devour Earth. After an investigation the Silver Surfer learns that a planet is hidden there and he alerts his master who soon arrives and plans to devour the world of Earth. The Watcher tries to reason with him and the Fantastic Four try to fight him, each with little to no effect. Then the Silver Surfer joins the Fantastic Four and the team up allows them to turn a weapon of Galactus against himself to negotiate a deal wherein Galactus vows never to devour Earth and to leave if Reed gives the weapon back. This certainly isn’t the most vast story but it is a brilliant one.
The Galactus Trilogy is an arc which incorporates three major elements of Marvel’s universe; the Fantastic Four, Marvel’s flagship family; Galactus, one of the most famous big bads; and Silver Surfer. Each of these characters links to others either in the cosmos or on earth and so would be an extremely beneficial arc to see come to the MCU. On top of that, now that the Fox-Marvel deal is nearing completion, this story could probably flow rather seamlessly from the start of the next phase, as it needs little build up with previous stories, and this story could also be adapted to include some Avengers thus bringing the Fantastic Four and Avengers together for a crisis. Not only is this first on the list for stories to be brought into the MCU but it is also one of my all-time favourite Marvel arcs.
Honourable mentions go to Annihilation: Conquest, Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickan, and X-Men: Messiah Complex. All three stories are formidable and almost made the list, both would need to be way down the line and didn’t quite make the cut. As I said at the top, the list originally was going to be five arcs but became ten, and to be honest, I could write so many more. This post was a real blast to write and one of my longest, as usual any likes and shares of the post go a long way, especially sharing through the Facebook page which can be found here. I also hope to do another give away soon; aiming to do one when we get to 100 likes, so if you know anyone else that might be interested in the content please send them over to like the page. Other posts coming soon include our casting for a Fantastic Four film and favourite Flash villains with some recommended reading. As usual, I hope you enjoyed the post!