Despite nearly a decade of movies featuring over a dozen epic adventures, with an exception or two, Marvel hasn’t spent much time in space. Clearly, the shape of things in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is changing, though, as Guardians of the Galaxy gave MCU fans a taste of cosmic adventure. Its forthcoming sequel will further expand the mythology in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, bringing the “perfection” of new villain Ayesha and her Sovereign people into the mix.
The latter portion of Phase 3 will also add new elements, such as Thor and Hulk’s interstellar action in Thor: Ragnarok, as well as the Avengers in Infinity War and Captain Marvel’s introduction, breaking the heavens wide open for the MCU. By the time the next phase, or whatever it's called, rolls out, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 could open the floodgates wide for Marvel's outer-space adventures.
Here are just a few of the multitude of directions it could go.
Depending on how Thanos’ evil schemes go down, the Mad Titan may be off the table, particularly if he finally gets his wish and embraces Death. If he survives, is imprisoned, or (as often happens in comic books) is reborn, all bets are off – especially if Marvel decides to create the classic 1992 cosmic team-up of Infinity Watch. Although Thanos himself was an integral part of the group, the MCU often changes source material, and the team did change members on occasion. Adapting the stories from this cosmic squad would also be a perfect follow up to the Infinity Stone-focused, Phase 3-ending Avengers movies.
Following the events of the Infinity Gauntlet saga, which is lining up pretty similarly in the MCU, the Living Tribunal (basically Marvel’s stellar universal judiciary branch) determined that the stones are far too powerful to be ever combined again. It is decreed that Adam Warlock will separate the stones, entrusting each of them to a different defender, including Gamora, Drax the Destroyer (who mistook it for a jellybean and ate it), Moondragon (Drax’s comic book daughter), Pip the Troll, a humbled Thanos, and, of course, Warlock himself.
Suffice to say, things didn’t go as planned, leading to some Stone-heisting and further strife, including the Infinity War and the Infinity Crusade, both of which involved Adam Warlock being split into two beings. Also, Disney could explore the origins of the Infinity Stones, which is a fascinating story in and of itself, involving the death of gestalt entity, Nemesis. An Infinity Watch-based movie would also be a perfect way to explore the fascinating landscape of Marvel's cosmic realm. Naturally, some of these story elements may be - or already are - woven into the fabric of the third and fourth Avengers films. Even if they are, there are still a number of fascinating stories and concepts to delve into from the Infinity Watch and their adventures.
Nova Corps Movie with Richard Rider
James Gunn gave the Nova Corps a solid, if slightly altered, introduction in Guardians of the Galaxy. However, their story has barely begun to scratch the surface of decades of entertaining exploits. Starring the galactic police force and their top dog, Richard Rider, Marvel needs to expand the reach of their classic space force in the next "Phase" and beyond. Several of the characters involved in the classic Nova stories have already been introduced, including Rhomann Dey, who first inducted Rider as a Corps member in the comics and is played by John C. Reilly in GOTG, and Garthan Saal, or Supernova, played by Peter Serafinowicz.
First appearing in his own ongoing series back in 1976, Rider has played a vital role in dozens of major interstellar events over the years, venturing to countless strange new worlds and battling dozens of nasty Marvel foes from Thanos to Galactus to Annihilus. His roguish, Han Solo-like attitude and dry sense of humor would also fit quite well with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in particular as a de facto member of the Guardians or leading the charge against the ills of space. His sometimes membership in the New Warriors could also lead to a fun TV-film crossover (hint, hint).
Beyond Rider himself, the Nova Corps have several different branches and a great deal of fascinating history and lore that could easily fill out a film or three, including their potential connections to Ego the Living Planet, the complexities of the Xandarian World Mind (which powers their Corps-members), and their history of selflessness in facing down the forces of universal destruction.
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