A lot of people are talking about the Marvel Cinematic Universe lately, and by lately, I mean the past 5 years or so.
However, lately, as in the past 20 months (since Endgame) we’ve had the least idea as to what the future of our heroes holds. Sure, we know the movies of the next phase, but the first ten years of story was leading up to the Thanos snap. Now, not only are we waiting to see who our next big bad is going to be, the story is being delayed due to the pandemic.
If you want to know the official word on the future, the only thing we are hearing is about the new Disney+ show WandaVision with little teasers, to make sure you don’t unsubscribe after you’re done watching Mandalorian week-to-week.
I think I’ve got an idea, however, and it’s not official, but it feels pretty good.
If you want to know where the MCU is headed, look to video games. Two specifically.
That’s right, the game that reached it’s peak in popularity moments before Thor was playing it in Endgame to show just how bored he really was (you suck NoobMaster69). However, it’s not just a place to find funny moments, or cool skins of Captain America (though that is really cool). If you want to get a good idea, go play tomorrow, December 1st.
Starting tomorrow, the Fortnite Marvel Galactus event kicks off, which will be the Season 4 finale. During this season, they have focused on a few heroes, and two villains (which I’m sure you’ve guessed one by now). The heroes have included Thor, Iron Man, Groot, Wolverine, Storm, Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan), and She-Hulk. These are characters that are popular from the existing MCU films, the popular X-Men movies, and two characters that aren’t yet popular, but will be due to upcoming Disney+ shows that have been announced as part of Phase 4. This is an idea as to why I think that this leads to the future of the MCU, because this would be a good place to get some fans more familiar with newer characters in a way that takes very little brainspace, but begins to build familiarity.
The two villains of the Fortnite Marvel event, are Doctor Doom, and Galactus. Now, both of these characters have been portrayed in movies already, but neither were done very well. As you should be aware, a little while before the pandemic, Disney bought Fox Studios, which includes the rights to the Fantastic Four, who’s primary villains are…Doctor Doom and Galactus!
Well, if they are using this platform to raise awareness around future heroes, it would make sense that they could do the same thing for future villains of the franchise.
Contest of Champions
In a very similar way, I believe that Marvel is using the app-based game Marvel’s Contest of Champions to also test out new characters and ideas for the future of the MCU. You see, unlike Fortnite, this is a game that is really only interesting if you are already a fan of Marvel, as you collect the heroes to fight each other in 1v1 platform fighting. You can collect hundreds of different heroes, and from them you build a team of five (not unlike the style of Pokemon, it’s a good idea to have a mix of fighter types).
Well, there is a rough story mode that you can play, as well as special story events, where the people that you fight have minimal dialogue, but it gives a reason for Iron Man to fight the Hulk, or even for Iron Man to fight another Iron Man, which is really fun actually.
I believe that they are using this to test out both basic storylines that might be interesting, as well as entire characters that they aren’t sure they want to use or not. As we are all familiar, unfortunately earlier this year, we lost the great Chadwick Boseman (T’Challa in Black Panther). Well, the fanbase as a whole has been curious to see what was going to be the story plan for that, seeing as how Black Panther 2 has already been announced, and sources say Marvel won’t just recast the character, as Chadwick Boseman was too important to the role.
In the game Contest of Champions, one of the newer characters introduced is Queen Shuri, T’Challas younger sister and heir to the throne.
This could lead to the idea that Marvel is testing audiences interest in a new character like this, and if so, would they then lead that into the new storyline that they are building for the next 5-10 years? Black Panther is a very important character in the Marvel universe, specifically in the comics, but they were clearly leading up to that in the movies. This isn’t a character you can remove from the storyline and it continues in a largely unaltered fashion. You need a Black Panther character to add some gravitas that Captain America gave the team. Some legitimacy.
Now, I’m not saying that everything in Contest of Champions, or Fortnite for that matter, is going to make an appearance in the MCU. But, they do use these platforms to build a more natural buzz around the ideas that they want to introduce, and so somewhere in this stack of hay are going to be a few needles.
Either this, or I’m reading too much into random video games that just are cashing in on the Avengers money train. It wouldn’t be the first time, and it certainly won’t be the last.
What do you think?