Marvel may payoff a four-year-old Captain America: Civil War joke about the Serpent Society with its Falcon & Winter Soldier TV show. In 2014, Marvel Studios held a press conference to announce their release slate for Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which included plans for a third Captain America movie. Rumors were abound prior to the announcement, and Marvel decided to throw the press (and fans, for that matter) a curve ball by announcing the movie's title was going to be Captain America: Serpent Society.
The news came as a shock because practically everyone was expecting the studio to adapt Civil War, a Marvel Comics crossover event that ultimately resulted in the death of Steve Rogers, which is something many fans expected to see at the end of the MCU's Captain America trilogy. Of course, the Civil War rumors were later proven true when Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige revealed the actual title was Captain America: Civil War and Serpent Society was only a prank so they could throw fans for a loop.
While Captain America: Civil War proved to be a critical and commercial success, thanks to new Falcon & Winter Soldier fan art, the idea of the Serpent Society being the focus of the new Marvel TV series is quite enticing. Introduced in 1985, the Serpent Society is a snake-themed group of mercenary supervillains who come together to support each other, creating a de facto trade union for bad guys of a particular mold. They pool together resources to commit bigger crimes and attempt greater schemes, sharing the spoils if they succeed, all the while providing a graver threat and challenge to Captain America and his cohorts than any of them would alone.
Unfortunately, Steve Rogers's story in the MCU never necessitated the Serpent Society's existence. Throughout his movie trilogy, he's fought Hydra, the Red Skull, the Winter Soldier, Iron Man, and Baron Zemo. But for Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson - Steve's right-and-left-hand-men - would be perfect to introduce the Society. They're an amalgamation of otherwise relatively small-time baddies. Sidewinder, Death Adder, Bushmaster – the ranks are filled with lesser-known characters that aren't really a threat alone, but together they're more daunting to defeat. And part of the gimmick is that the Society is disorganized because they're all out for themselves, which is a perfect foil for Sam and Bucky's wafer-thin tolerance of each other.
The group contains a good set of antagonists for Falcon and Winter Soldier's skills as military operatives; they're an organization that would require infiltration and reconnaissance to understand. Barnes and Wilson would need each other to defeat them, just as the hapless C-grade members of the Serpent Society need each other to be taken seriously. In the comics, the Serpent Society's plans are often big enough to warrant the efforts of more than one Avenger, as Captain America typically requires help - but not so big that two Avengers couldn't feasibly stop them given the right circumstances. Since their plans aren't usually world-ending, the Serpent Society are small and dangerous enough to become TV villains. The only barrier is that a handful of notable members have appeared in other MCU media already (Diamondback, Cottonmouth, and Bushmaster all in Luke Cage alone).
If nothing else, it'd be a wry move on Marvel's part to wink at their own promotional gag so directly. The MCU is already full of Easter eggs and references, so taking it a step further and involving their own PR seems inevitable at some point. After all, if Avengers 4 really does involve time travel and the universe being in someway altered or reset, it'd be even more meta to have Sam and Bucky deal with a new set of villains seeping through the cracks. There are certainly worse ideas for how this could go – and not many of them are going to sound as interesting as Serpent Society.
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019