Questions the MCU Needs to Answer Now (And their Impact on Comics)

by Ryan Kirksey

072622E-1024x536 Questions the MCU Needs to Answer Now (And their Impact on Comics)For the first time in its almost 15 years of existence, the MCU is under intense scrutiny from fans, critics, and speculators. After a Three Phase cohesive journey that landed the plane better than perhaps any other intellectual property in film history, the MCU’s Phase Four has left its fans asking one question: “Where are we going?”As early as the first Avengers film in 2012, we had an idea of where the Marvel ship was headed and we all gladly stayed on board for the slow, intriguing burn that culminated with Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Now, after six Phase Four films, and seven Disney+ series (with more on the way), we don’t seem any closer to a post-Thanos path than when we said goodbye to Tony, Cap, Nat, and the gang.

Those that care most about the MCU are seeking answers. So, what are the biggest questions that the MCU needs to answer and what comics would those questions inevitably impact? Do we get answers to any of these at the Marvel panel on July 23rd at San Diego Comic-Con? Here are the five most outstanding MCU issues that need resolution, like yesterday.

What is the next Endgame? Who is the next Big Bad?

Remember the days when we were convinced Mephisto was lurking just around every corner when WandaVision premiered in January 2021? Ah, the good old days. But that sense of projecting and predicting the next MCU major villain comes from the linear path we followed that dropped us off right at the feet of Thanos and his army. Today, that path winding its way through Phase 4 looks more like scribbles on a page than a connect-the-dots exercise.

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Rumors abound these days as to the persona of the next major villainous arc for the MCU. We have seen Kang in Loki and know he is coming again in one year in Antman: Quantumania. But with the Fantastic Four likely to be announced soon, that kicks the door open for Dr. Doom or Galactus, both major figures who could fill the Thanos-sized hole in our hearts.

There are also strong context clues that a Secret Wars story arc could be coming soon, which might introduce the idea of a character like Beyonder or some other cosmic puppet master. And we can’t ever dismiss our old friend Magneto, although he seems to be on a scale somewhat smaller than the other world-dominators mentioned above.

Just don’t talk to me about Mephisto anymore!

Potential Comics Impacted:

Who is the future face of the MCU?

In years past, Robert Downey, Jr.’s Iron Man and Chris Evans’ Captain America battled for the championship belt of Marvel poster boy. With those options out the window and the future of Chris Hemsworth’s Thor up in the air, who now is number one on the call sheet for MCU heroes?

Seemingly, the entire world would want it to be Tom Holland’s Spider-Man. Spidey has been the face of Marvel comics for 60 years and Holland’s charm, persona, and youth make him an ideal candidate. But there are a couple complications. First, there is the messy Sony-Marvel relationship and the fact that Holland isn’t actually signed long-term to either right now. Both want him to drive the train of their respective franchises, so how does that get worked out?

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Then there is Benedict Cumberbatch’s Dr. Strange. Strange has been in an MCU film every year since 2016 except for the year 2020. He also lent his voice to the What If…? series on Disney+. We know he is set to return in some form in future films with the Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness stinger likely setting him to go more cosmic with maybe-future-wife Clea. Can he run the show from space?

None of the other new characters introduced in Phase 4 seemingly have the attraction thus far. Shang Chi, Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel, and others haven’t developed the cult adoration of Tony Stark yet.

So in whose hands do we entrust the MCU? As odd as it may seem, if it isn’t Holland or Cumberbatch, it may be time for the kids to shine….

Potential Comics Impacted:

Are we actually building towards a Young Avengers team?

If there is one clear direction we can see the MCU headed, it’s towards some version of a Young Avengers team-up on screen. Consider all the potential candidates who have been introduced just in Phase 4. Kate Bishop, Ms. Marvel, Eli Bradley, America Chavez, Billy, and Tommy Maximoff, and maybe even surprise Thor: Love and Thunder fan favorite Axl “Sweet Child of Mine” Heimdallson.

Also, what about our new Black Widow, Yelena Belova? Is she destined for this squad with her new BFF Kate Bishop or will we see her next in the Thunderbolts movie that has been confirmed? That’s not to mention we still have not seen the new version of Cassie Lang, to be played by Kathryn Newton in Antman: Quantumania.

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There are countless possibilities and iterations of teams that could be developed here and the worst kept secret in the MCU is that the Young Avengers will be on screen together in the near future. How soon will that be? It’s tough to tell with all of the movement and sliding doors of Phase 4. But Hailee Steinfeld, who plays Kate Bishop, was spotted on set of the new Antman film. Will she be there to recruit Cassie Lang to a new team? We can only hope.

Potential Comics Impacted:

Where do new characters like Yelena Belova, Shang Chi, Moon Knight, and Ms. Marvel fit into the MCU?

The paradox of many of these new character introductions that have defined Phase 4 is that they were seemingly refreshing and confusing at the same time. It was very pleasing to see a story like Moon Knight which had no connective tissue to any other MCU property. Ms. Marvel almost went to that point as well. Shang Chi didn’t draw on any other MCU character or story (except for Trevor Slattery!) until the end credits when Wong, Bruce Banner, and Captain Marvel try to understand the Ten Rings.

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But we know the MCU model is to weave these stories together at some point. How will they do that? If it is almost a certainty that we are going to get a Young Avengers team, are we also prepping for a new “adult” Avengers squad led by Sam Wilson’s Captain America that includes Bucky, Shang Chi, a new Black Panther, Hulk, Moon Knight, and soon-to-arrive She-Hulk? Right now, many of these characters don’t have a clear connection. Or rather as in the case of Ms. Marvel and Monica Rambeau, they have a very exclusive and small connection.

If we begin to also introduce teams like the Fantastic Four and a very popular group we will discuss below, is there some type of new Civil War or multiversal conflict coming between these groups? Beyond some of the introductions still to come, how these new characters become integrated into the existing fabric of the MCU is my number one question for the universe at large.

Potential Comics Impacted:

We Know FF4 is coming. With “mutations” now a reality, how close are we to X-Men?

Anyone who had Kamala Khan as their bet for the first MCU mutant, please come up to the window to collect your winnings! When Bruno utters the word “mutation” to describe Kamala’s genes in the closing moment of Disney+’s Ms. Marvel series, the whole digitalverse exploded with thoughts and theories.

Further stoking the flames of pending Mutant/X-Men announcements were the release of Logan, Deadpool, and Deadpool 2 onto Disney+ just one day before Marvel presented at San Diego Comic-Con. We also know that proven-to-be mutant Namor will be appearing in the Wakanda Forever film this November.

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With so much smoke around lately, there is bound to be some mutant fire nearby.

We may be closer than we think to getting not only official news but also official casting of some mutant characters. With how much of a reputational hit Marvel has taken with a disjointed Phase 4, they could use the goodwill and there is likely no better way to do that than to unleash the full mutant power on their audience. Whether that happens at SDCC or at D23 in early September, it looks like we will have some kind of mutant news before fall arrives.

Potential Comics Impacted:

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Upgrade2_Footer Questions the MCU Needs to Answer Now (And their Impact on Comics)*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not reflect advice on behalf of GoCollect.

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Phil August 2, 2022 - 12:13 am

As a big fan of the MCU and a comic book collector I am not the least bit concerned about “where this is going?” I’ve enjoyed every movie and tv series they have put out so far and as long as the quality of the content doesn’t drastically decline I will continue to watch the future projects and collect the comic books. Those that care most about the MCU are are enjoying the content, they aren’t seeking answers. If you’re interested in seeking answers you’re more likely to be a speculator trying to make a buck.

Sean August 2, 2022 - 7:34 pm

Marvel should adapt the Galactus story from FF #242-244 and then in the sequel do the trial of Reed Richards Then they could do a Dr. Doom cameo at the end of that movie to set it up for Fantastic Four 3. And they could do an X-Men movie featuring the X-Men FINALLY in their classic costumes rather than the horrid black leather “gay bar” attire. LOL


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