San Diego Comic-Con is just around the corner, and as always we’re expecting big, big news from Marvel. There’ll be a tease or two, some Phase Three hints, some Phase Two bombshells, and moments on the dais that will have all the geeks geeking. What would we like to see? That’s an excellent question! We’ve been thinking a lot about Marvel’s SDCC panel, and here are our hopes for the big day.
1. We wish they’d announce a villain for Avengers 2.
Let’s get this is-he-or-isn’t-he question out of the way concerning Thanos. Will he be the big bad in Avengers 2 or is he going to be limited to appearances in Guardians of the Galaxy? Or is the plan more long term, with Thanos planned for Avengers 3 (as some fans speculate)? Some have even tried to spread the rumor that Marvel is looking to time-traveling despot Kang for the sequel, though I doubt that happens considering what the studio set up at the end of the first Avengers. There’s no good reason for Kevin Feige to follow the Star Trek Into Darkness model of not letting anyone know who the good guys will be facing, so let’s hear it! Sure, Avengers 2 is a couple of years away, but I don’t know if we can speculate for that long.
2. We wish they’d cast Ant-Man.
Ant-Man has been a long-time coming, and short of releasing the actual film, there’s not much more Marvel can do to beat the drum on the project than announce an actual cast. Who’s going to play Hank Pym, the brilliant inventor/adventurer who creates size-altering “Pym particles” and uses the invention to fight crime? Last week, many guessed that Vin Diesel would play the part, but it doesn’t jibe with what we know of the character. Besides carrying his own film, Pym will need to be someone who will banter well with Ruffalo and Downey as the big brains on the Avengers team. Knowing Edgar Wright is in charge, we like the idea of a leading man who’s adept at comedy. If Chris Pratt is taking a break from Parks and Recreation for Guardians, maybe fellow cast member Adam Scott can break away for a stint as Ant-Man? Just a thought...
3. We really hope Iron Man gets a break.
Iron Man 3 felt like an appropriate end to the trilogy, and while we look forward to the character showing up in Avengers sequels, let’s let Tony Stark take a break for a good long while. We’re not convinced that Marvel can resist the surefire piles of cash that Iron Man 4 would make, but creatively it’s time to let some other characters take the spotlight. Let someone else’s franchise become the new cash cow. We love Robert Downey Jr., but we fear overkill.
4. We wish Dr. Strange gets more than just a release date.
We’re not quite expecting Dr. Strange casting, though it would be nice. What we are expecting is a behind-the-scenes struggle as to who will land Guillermo del Toro for their supernatural superhero project. Will it be Warner Bros./DC with their proposed Justice League Dark film? Or will Marvel lock down the most obvious choice for turning the weird world of Dr. Strange into a crowd-pleasing blockbuster? If Marvel announces del Toro for Strange, then Justice League Dark will most likely get added to Warner Bros./DC’s list of projects that couldn’t quite get off the ground (like George Miller’s Justice League or Joss Whedon’s Wonder Woman). Soft box office or not, Pacific Rim proved that del Toro can work in full-on summer thrill-ride mode, which, coupled with del Toro’s personal passion for the uncanny, makes him the most attractive candidate to helm the eventual Dr. Strange film.
5. We wish Marvel would announce a Phase Three curveball.
Sequels aren’t going to surprise us, neither are announcements for Black Panther or Doctor Strange. What we’d really like is a total surprise, something that hasn’t even been rumored before. Is that even possible in this day and age, where even the slightest whiff of a rumor ends up running as news? We think it’s possible, as long as that knowledge is held by Kevin Feige and whatever creatives are being kept on a need-to-know short leash. A total secret excludes hush-hush possibilities like Runaways, Inhumans or Planet Hulk - we’re talking about something no one sees coming. Moon Knight? Spider-Woman? Deathlok? There are literally hundreds of possibilities, and we’d love to see Marvel pull the rug out from under us with an unexpected property.