Alternate Marvel Cinematic: Lesser Lights

Here's another game I like to play: Reimagining a publisher's line of superhero comics, or a studio's line of superhero films, as if a similar, but different, character had become popular. I don't mean that is should be the sidekick instead either, since that's a well-worn trope now. Robin did become Batman, Bucky did become Captain America, as did the Falcon. But similar in concept without the overt link, or as much as possible, I guess. If we take the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the thought experiment, it's obviously produced its own ready-to-fill-in heroes, and we might imagine, in this parallel universe, a War Machine series of films, without really missing a beat.
True, Rhodey couldn't be War Machine without Tony Stark, but there's enough in Iron Man's DNA to make this work. Tony's still the great inventor, but the guy in the armor really IS his bodyguard. It just about works. Or else, who? Guardsman? Let's not talk crazy.

Now, who else got a three-picture deal? Captain America. If this time we avoid all his buddies, we might just look at a patriotic hero who represents a nation.
Captain Britain! Not sure about the armored look, but movies being what they are... Exotic London! Supernatural elements right from the get-go. One of the movies would be called Revolutionary War! And of course, fans would be petitioning Fox to let go of the Excalibur rights so Cap could be reunited with his team on screen (not that MI-13 isn't great).
Thor would be replaced by Hercules, who fits the tone of the films, and when you think about it, even Hemsworth's portrayal of a god-on-Earth, much better. In a pinch, you could attribute the Incredible Hulk movie to Hercules thanks to the Incredible Herc series and Amadeus Cho. Or give a Canadian guy like Sasquatch a shot.
Expanding the universe, the MCU would have had an unexpected success with its Starjammers movie, brazen space corsairs giving bloody noses to Kree, Skrulls, and Shi'ar alike.
This MCU actually started with a black lead, but not one that showed his face while in costume. Heck, neither does Black Panther. I can't really think of a Black Panther counterpart at Marvel (Doctor Doom, but he's on the wrong side of the fence), so I've chosen to bring Luke Cage to the big screen. Anyway, we're not really talking about the Netflix TV shows here (but they might be replaced by Madame Web, Sentry, Power Man (the kid version), Shang-Chi, and Scourge). Luke Cage doesn't serve the same function as a character, but as a black empowerment figure, I'd say yes.
Oh yeah, let's not forget Marvel Studios repatriating Spider-Man, or in this case, the unconnected (except by name) Spider-Woman. Man, just makes me want to see Jessica Drew get her own movie... Anyway, there's your first female lead, just a bit sooner than Captain Marvel, who in this parallel would be replaced by the new Ms. Marvel.

I'm running out of time, but you get the idea. Brother Voodoo would have gotten a movie. Black Goliath as well. At some point, most of the heroes would have joined the Avengers, or Defenders, or Champions. Marvel would still be fighting to get the rights back for Power Pack, and Son of Satan, and New Warriors. The struggling DCCU would finally be turning the corner with fun new trailers for Neptune Perkins and Amethyst...

What does this thought experiment make YOU experimentally think?


LiamKav said...

The interesting thing about the MCU is that it's already the lesser lights, or at least the lesser lights as the public knew them back at the start of the 2000s. Marvel had given away Spider-Man and the X-Men. DC had recently released Batman Begins (mega successful) and Superman Returns (less so, but people at least know who Superman is). And so the newly created Marvel Studios come out of the gate with... Iron Man? Who the hell knows who Iron Man is? Thor? Blonde guy who throws a hammer? And forget about selling a guy called Captain America to a worldwide audience, especially if he's being played by whatsisface who was the Human Torch in that terrible FF movie that no-one watched. Really, it's a good thing they had Ed Norton on The Incredible Hulk... That's the only film with any character recognition.

Seriously, if they think they can hang a multi-million dollar movie franchise on guys like Captain America and Iron Man, Marvel are in for a rude awakening.



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