What we want from the MCU's announced and unannounced Disney+ shows
We all have a lot of love for superhero movies, right? I sure hope so, we have a whole website that depends on it. But, despite the affinity for our big-screen heroes, there’s no denying that there are some things that a film franchise just can’t give us – no matter how many installments they produce. Characters get lost in the shuffle, storylines remain unresolved, and sub-plots feel half-baked in the name of serving the overarching narrative. This is exactly what makes the news that Disney is developing a batch of new series (to air on its controversial new streaming service) surrounding existing MCU staples particularly exciting. A run of 60-minute episodes offers heaps of opportunities to explore a character in more depth, take more time to develop motivations or emotions and even provide greater context to the events of the movies. Loki, Scarlet Witch, and a Bucky/Falcon team-up are already in the pipeline, with even more likely to follow. With this in mind, here’s what we would love to see from the next entries in Marvel’s all-consuming entertainment empire.
Falcon & Bucky
The remarkably testy relationship between Cap’s oldest and newest friend is one of the most underrated in the whole MCU. We caught a glimpse of the back-and-forth during Civil War, but since then the studio has had bigger fish to fry – like this film called Infinity War. So, there’s still a lot of area uncovered for this slightly unconventional friendship.
The biggest question surrounding any of these new projects is when they will take place. It would seem a bit premature to announce the spin-offs before Avengers 4 reveals the fates of various individuals. But for these two, it is most probable that it will take place in the aftermath of the universe’s grand culmination. The reason for this is simple – the two just haven’t spent enough time together in the past for any substantial story to be told. But if there is one thing that would drive the pair closer together, it would be the devastating loss of a mutual friend; perhaps a mutual friend with a shield and a ‘truth’ fetish.
The loss of Captain America would be a shocking blow to every member of Marvel’s universe, but it would perhaps hit Sam and Bucky the hardest. This could provide a sombre, but very interesting backdrop to the new series. It would be immensely powerful watching them clash as they try and push forward with their duties, while simultaneously struggling to console each other and mourn in their own way. This has the making of some real weighty dialogue in moments of emotion. We’ve already seen that Sam Wilson is a little skeptical about Bucky’s relationship with Steve, so it wouldn’t be a stretch for him to dump some of the blame at his feet. There’s also the added twist of the duo trying to make their friend proud and uphold his flawless moral values. This can also cause confrontation as they disagree about what their fallen comrade would want from the Avengers in his wake.
But seriously Kevin Feige, please don’t kill Cap – my heart can’t take it.
This was a curious one when it first got confirmed. Out of the enormous roster the MCU boasts, the god of mischief actually had one of the most complete and satisfying arcs. That makes predicting what would make a captivating series a tricky little conundrum; but I’m going to try, because it’s my job.
Rumor has it that the Loki spin-off will take a more anthological approach to its stories, rather than the traditional show structure. By this I mean that it will likely be the case that each episode is a self-contained story, perhaps with an overarching narrative to link everything. This would be a smart move on Marvels part, as we’ve already seen the biggest moments that his story has to offer through the Thor trilogy and more recently, Infinity War.
That being said, there are plenty of occasions where the trickster has vanished through one reason or another. He was presumed dead until he showed up on Earth for the battle New York and he ruled Asgard disguised as Odin for months following his stunt in Svartalfheim. So, while there may not be any huge void in his history that needs filling in, there are a few little holes that fans would like to see plugged. Arguably the most desired amongst devotees would surely be the space between the events of Thor and the Avengers. Somewhere amongst his travels through the cosmos he crossed paths with Thanos, who gave him an army and the mind stone as a means for ruling Earth. How this deal came to be is one the movie universe's largest grey-areas and it would be a neat piece of fan-service to see behind-the-scenes build-up to possibly the franchises standout event. It might be wishful thinking to expect an appearance from the mad titan himself, but more screen-time for a member of the black order (especially Ebony Maw) would be very plausible. Not to mention incredibly awesome.
In addition to this, I’d love a least one of the installments to feature an adventure involving Loki, Lady Sif and the Warriors Three. We’ve heard rumblings of the countless battles the group have fought alongside Thor but seeing one in full flow would be immensely satisfying, after how woefully underserved the side characters, particularly Sif, have been in the Thor trilogy. The dynamic between an increasingly bitter, jealous brother and the woman in love with said brother, could be a unique one to say the least.
If the whispers are to be believed, the Scarlet Witch TV show is set to take the same approach as Loki’s run. We haven’t seen an awful lot of Wanda since her introduction in Age of Ultron, and we know even less about her life before the powers that made her so vastly powerful. The other shows being greenlit are, by nature of the characters they concern, going to be fairly action-orientated – and that suits those individuals and their styles down to a tee. This leaves a space, however, for a slower more heartfelt depiction of the MCUs more withdrawn characters. Wanda has always come across as a reluctant hero, whose powers evoke as much fear in her as they do confidence. We know that she underwent experiments as a method of ending the strife in her home country of Sokovia, so her motivations have always been good-hearted. But to actually be able to see her and Pietro growing-up in a poverty-stricken land, through a completely dedicated episode, would really hammer it home and let us invest in her story in a way that hasn’t been possible in her film arc.
Speaking of not being able to get invested, remember that profound and emotionally complex romance between her and Vision? Because I sure can’t. Don’t get me wrong, I fully buy into the idea of their relationship; two outcasts on the fringes of the group, struggling with abilities they don’t fully understand, fighting to desperately to be apart of humanity. The foundation is certainly there. But due its lack of time to be fully developed its always felt like a forced side-plot, urgently trying to give two lesser players an interesting angle. We need to see where this ardour came from, and with this show we could finally get an up-close exploration of their relationship, rather than always peering in from the outside. One segment of the anthology could focus on the blossoming romance between the quirky couple, perhaps the first date where they bond over tales from their unusual respective pasts. While another could jump forward and depict an Avengers-related outing, or the aftermath of Wanda sending Vision crashing through every floor of the team’s headquarters during Civil War – you know, normal couple stuff.
So, that’s just a few musings surrounding the projects already announced by Disney themselves. But should these new shows find an audience, which they almost defiantly will, it opens the door for more silver-screen heroes to make the jump to television. There’s still plenty of great characters left over that haven’t had the standalone film treatment, who could really use a bit of TLC:
Poor old Hawkeye, he’s become the MCU whipping boy since his first cameo in 2011 and big debut in 2012. It’s hard to stay relevant when you’re battling alien armies and psychotic robots with a bow and arrow – speaking from experience, of course. But everyone forgets Clint loyally served Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D for many years before all the supers turned up, leaving plenty of narratives still untouched. But I fear the majority of these tales may be held back for the long-awaited Black Widow movie.
But if you go back even further than this, we have next to no details about his life before the Hawkeye mantle. How did he meet his wife? How did he wind up on SHIELD’s radar? This for me is where the lion’s share of fresh content would lie for a spin-off. Displaying us with a younger, more optimistic Barton, honing his craft as a master archer while balancing his life as a young man would contrast effectively with the wearier version we’ve come to know. If we look to the comics for inspiration, the series could even go as far as dealing with him using his skills to join the circus as means of getting by. Clint juggling (sorry) his demeaning job, his relationship with his wife to be and his aspirations of something greater could produce a compelling backstory to get behind, something that’s hopelessly lacking currently.
Guardians of the Galaxy is one of the franchises most beloved films, and for good reason. It’s one of the most genuinely funny and heartwarmingly sincere comic book movies in recent memory. This is more than slightly due to its oddball, but strangely relatable family of misfits. The standout for many fans is Rocket, a genetically modified raccoon with a big heart and a bigger attitude. When we first meet up with him, it’s clear he and his partner Groot have been terrorising the galaxy in search of units for a while; and yet we get tragically little context as to how they both met or even where they came from. This sets the premise for a bold and colourful TV show focusing on two cherished fan-favourites.
Now, Groots vague backstory is part of what makes him so endearing in the first place, so I wouldn’t want that to be squandered by a spin-off show. Rocket, on the other hand, has a mysterious origin that leaves plenty of unanswered questions. Any fellow gamers will know that Telltale’s GOTG series went someway to showing where our favourite trash panda emerged from – albeit away from the film canon. The game had nearly an entire chapter inside of the lab which ultimately created Rocket, even introducing an ill-fated love interest (Lyla) to add a level of earnestness that is alluded to on the big-screen, but never fully expanded on. This as a starting point, leading us through him meeting Groot and culminating perhaps in the reason they wound up on Xandar is a solid plot, with plenty of room for action set-pieces. This would be a wonderful nod to existing fans, but also be an entry point for new ones – because who doesn’t love a cuddly raccoon?
Well, that’s what we think. But we’ll have to wait until Netflix killing Disney+ launches sometime next year for any concrete answers. We’d love to hear what you want to see from the upcoming spin-offs in the comments.