Although we are all still reeling from the events of Avengers: Infinity War, it's never to soon to start looking ahead—even past next year's Avengers 4!—and onto the next mysterious phase of whatever Kevin Feige has in store. And now, we maybe have an idea of what may come. We learned, thanks to an earnings call earlier this week (via The Hollywood Reporter) that Disney CEO Bob Iger made a comment about potential future Marvel franchises. "I'm guessing that we will try our hand at a new franchise beyond Avengers," Iger said. He made it a point to not rule out future Avengers films, but the suggestion seemed to be another new franchise without Avengers in the title.
By "new franchise," he probably doesn't mean just solo films for new characters—we know those are coming. He's more than likely talking about something that will be as big an event as The Avengers series has been, uniting different heroes from various Marvel films. Given that, the next big franchise could be none other than The Ultimates.
"But wait!" you may be thinking. "Aren't the Avengers and the Ultimates basically the same thing?" Well, yes and no. I'm talking about the second team to use the name, which consisted of Captain Marvel, Black Panther, Spectrum, Blue Marvel, and Miss America Chavez, and which debuted in 2015. I'll get into the reasons why I think the Ultimates may be coming soon, but first, a little history lesson on just who the heck the Ultimates are, for you comics newbies out there.
Originally developed by writer Mark Millar and artist Bryan Hitch in 2002, The Ultimates were a new interpretation of the classic, original Avengers line-up of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby—the same characters, but set in a parallel universe, and with a modern edge. The series would become a huge influence on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, especially on a visual level. There are scenes in that first Avengers film that owe a lot to Hitch's art in The Ultimates.
Eventually, Marvel's Ultimate line of comics lost the interest of readers, if only because mainstream Marvel had become more popular in the interceding years. Marvel decided to end the Ultimate universe, including the Ultimates team. But a good name like that is too good to waste, and in 2015, a new team named the Ultimates was born within the mainstream Marvel Universe. This team was made up of a diverse cast of heroes, and the series ran for two years. But although the comic may be gone (at least for now), we see a big future for these characters on the big screen.
What with the cinematic Avengers presumably saying goodbye after the fourth Avengers installment, Marvel Studios might want to give their new cinematic "Big Guns"—mainly Black Panther and the forthcoming Captain Marvel—their own team franchise instead of just dubbing them "Avengers 2.0." After the box office success of Black Panther, it would seem that T'Challa is their new Iron Man in terms of popularity. Captain Marvel is probably going to be another huge hit, effectively becoming the new Captain America in terms of importance to the MCU. It's heavily rumored that the character of Spectrum is being introduced in Captain Marvel, so that makes three of the characters from the comics. Both the remaining team members, Blue Marvel and America Chavez, could be introduced in an Ultimates movie, or somewhere else down the line.
Much like the comic series it is based on, The Ultimates would be a groundbreaking film due to the fact that, if for no other reason, it's a superhero team with no white males on it at all; America is a Latin-American as well as LGBTQ, and Blue Marvel is black. Giving them their own team name would hammer the point home that this is its own franchise, and not just a version of another franchise without its most beloved characters in it. Sure, the Ultimates is not a name many non-comics fans may know, but before 2014, the same could be said for the Guardians of the Galaxy. What a difference a few years can make.
Do you think the Ultimates could become Marvel's next big event franchise? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Images: Marvel Comics
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