The Marvel Cinematic Universe has just concluded Phase 4 on the big screen with the release of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and on Disney+ with The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. Phase 5 is already shaping up nicely, but the recent run of Marvel Comics is sure to have some influence on how the narrative arcs develop next.
Marvel Studios is constantly looking to the source material for story and character-based inspiration, and 2020, 2021, and 2022 boasted some brilliant runs that helped to reshape the universe. These narrative beats are well worth checking out and could easily be implemented in the MCU’s future.
King In Black (2020-2021)
King In Black was a major crossover event that took over Marvel Entertainment. The premise saw Knull, the Symbiote god, descend on the known universe. With Earth-616 in his crosshairs, he took over the planet in a way that no other villain had managed before.
The MCU has slowly started to play with the idea of impending Symbiotes, especially with the Venom crossover. Considering Phase 5 will surely feature further deities, it’s plausible that Knull is soon introduced; his weapon has already been seen in the hands of Gorr the God Butcher.
Hellfire Gala (2021 & 2022)
The Hellfire Gala narrative has taken place over two years now, with the event continuing to happen for the foreseeable future. It’s a moment that sees the X-Men of Krakoa host their Arakko brethren and notable heroes and villains from across the galaxy. The costumes have become fan-favorite aspects of the comic.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is going to have to do something different with the Mutants to establish them separately from the FOX franchise. Thus, perhaps they will launch with a Hellfire Gala introducing the world to the X-Men who have been hiding all this time.
Strange Academy (2021-2022)
Strange Academy is such a novel concept but follows in the footsteps of other educational programs from The Initiative to Avengers Academy. It’s a brilliant idea to bring the magical side of the Marvel Universe together, with brand new students learning the ways of the wizarding world from some experienced experts.
There are plenty of candidates who could join the Academy in the MCU, and Doctor Strange has already begun to take on a mentor role with young heroes like Ned Leeds and America Chavez. Strange Academy as a Disney+ show feels like a natural next step for the sorcerer’s series.
In regards to Doctor Strange, a shift has taken place in the comics that has seen a brand-new figure take on the role of the Sorcerer Supreme. The wife of Stephen Strange, Clea, now protects Earth-616 after the death of her late husband.
Already an experienced Sorcerer Supreme for the Dark Dimension, Strange has been an intriguing narrative in seeing how Clea develops in the role. The MCU has just introduced the character, and thus it might be a brilliant change of pace for her to replace the Doctor in the coming years.
Heroes Reborn (2021)
While there was an original iteration of Heroes Reborn, the most recent variation is the one that could have the most impact on the MCU. Phil Coulson made a deal with the devil, with Mephisto changing reality itself to reflect the false heroes of the Squadron Supreme.
The Squadron has been heavily rumored to appear in the Multiverse for the MCU, so it might not be too much of a stretch to see a narrative that portrays them as the new heroes of Earth-616. The roster of characters and their copy-cat theatrics of the Justice League makes this a notable story for hardcore comic fans.
Avengers Vs X-Men Vs Eternals (2022)
The Avengers and Eternals have already been firmly established in the MCU, and the X-Men are inbound. In the comics, these three factions have recently done battle, each side representing their own interests and protecting the innocent against the desires of the other.
Whether it’s stamping out deviation, protecting immortality, or securing the future of reality, these forces have been involved in the kind of complex conflict that could surely inspire a spinoff movie. Fighting these two former allies might be one of the worst things to happen to the Avengers on screen if it were to take place.
Champions: Outlawed (2020)
The Young Avengers have slowly been transitioned into the Champions, and although both units remain, it’s the latter that has had more focus recently. The Outlawed narrative forced the Champions to abandon their vigilante gigs because of a new law that forbids underage heroism.
Of course, they didn’t stay out of the fight for long, and the arc somewhat reflects the Superhero Registration Act, which took the form of the Sokovia Accords in the MCU. The rise of young heroes on screen, from Spider-Man to Ms. Marvel and Hawkeye, could lead to this new initiative being played out in an exciting story.
Death Of Doctor Strange (2021-2022)
Clea only had to take on the Sorcerer Supreme mantle because of the Death of Doctor Strange comic book run. It was an emotional arc that kicked off with the murder of Strange and a variant from the timeline attempting to solve his own demise.
It also demonstrated how much Strange truly did to keep back the forces of darkness, with paranormal chaos ensuing after his death. The MCU will have to move on from this iteration of Strange eventually, and this arc would be a natural one to take inspiration from.
Devil’s Reign (2021-2022)
Devil’s Reign concluded the fantastic Daredevil run that featured Wilson Fisk as Mayor, Matt Murdock in prison, and Elektra as the new Devil of Hell’s Kitchen. It’s been a fantastic read, which culminated in Kingpin’s obsession to find out the truth about Murdock’s alter ego.
It brought the vigilante and street-level side of the Marvel Universe together and could very well influence the direction of the Disney+ shows in the future, spinning off from the adventures of Echo, Daredevil, Kingpin, and hopefully returning heroes like Jessica Jones. Asides from Shadowland, it’s the natural path to take.
The status of the intergalactic politics of the Marvel Universe shifted with Empyre, a crossover event involving the Kree and the Skrulls as a new Emperor took charge. With Hulking now in the position of power, a new era of peace has been restored throughout the universe.
It’s a story that focuses on galactic reform and with the cosmic side of the MCU consistently expanding and Hulking surely on the way alongside the rest of the Young Avengers, there’s a lot that could be achieved from adapting this popular comic book run.
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