Every once in awhile people will ask me if I really like superheroes or if I just post about them on occassion because it's good for traffic. The answers are a bold yes and an er, probably not (The Film Experience isn't so much on the fanboy traffic radar for numerous reasons including undoubtedly because actresses on the verge of onscreen nervous breakdowns are a way more thrilling visual effect than superhero powers). But in truth I've always loved superheroes and only wish that superhero movies had more variety and imagination and a fan culture that was less slobbering and homogenous. See, I grew up completely obsessed with X-Men. Just as with movies where strong casts are consistently more likely to thrill me than movies built on one performance, I generally appreciated team comics the most, so I also read (in ascending order of favoritism): The Legion of Superheroes, Fantastic Four, Alpha Flight, The Avengers and The Teen Titans. I liked the Avengers best when certain characters were present. For those of you who didn't read comics, The Avengers operated on an internal narrative wherein the roster of heroes changed fairly regularly, sometimes only one or two slots but never exactly the same roll call.
So with last week's no shit announcement that box office titan The Avengers would be getting a sequel, I thought I'd list the ten characters I'd most like Joss Whedon to consider for it. He's already on record saying he'd like another female though the pickings are somewhat slim. The unstated problem is that the best female superheroes are part of the X-Men team, characters 20th Century Fox is in control of... a thorough breakdown of who owns which characters can be found at Screen Rant. This is all assuming that Marvel Studios doesn't want Whedon to just make the first movie again with a new villain. Which, I'll quickly note, is a ridiculous assumption. The guiding rule of expensive studio sequels is "make it the same only bigger"
Top Ten Heroes To Consider for Avengers 2
With apologies to Quake who was in the original post and was accidentally deleted until it was all written.
10 Doctor Strange
The Marvel Universe's premiere sorcerer has yet to make a dent outside of comic books. Name recognition wouldn't be high for mainstream audiences but that's what people worried about with Iron Man and look how that turned out? Strange got a TV movie in 1978 but subsequent planned film versions have been cursed, the spell forever uncast.
The rights have changed hands many times but last we heard, Marvel Studios had control of the mystic doctor again and had hired screenwriters. Adrien Brody was rumored for the role a couple of years ago and then Patrick Dempsey was lobbying hard in 2011. I'm not crazy about the Dempsey idea since his charisma is scaled so well for the small screen -- really it's just the hair that make people think he's right for it because as an actor he definitely lacks mystery -- but the Doctor could be an intriguing character in the right hands.
09 Ms Marvel / Binary / War Bird
I've never met a soul who has any deep feelings or fandom for Ms. Marvel, which probably dooms her big screen chances altogether but hear me out. Her backstory is so fucked up, her name has changed multiple times, that nothing is canon. A writer like Joss Whedon could do virtually whatever he pleased with her without upsetting decades of story. But it's also worth noting that Ms. Marvel's most intriguing story connects to the X-Men mythology. Rogue (played by Anna Paquin in the movies) once absorbed just too much of her and gained all her memories and identity giving both women major psychiatric issues thereafter.
If handled brilliantly and with a team of great lawyers couldn't she straddle both superhero franchises as a supporting player, essentially tying them into the same universe without disrupting either studio's plans too much?
08 The Beast
Yes, yes, we're still stuck on the X-Men which belong to 20th Century Fox. But couldn't they lend out just one character? If so it'd be interesting to see what Joss Whedon could do with blue, furry, brainy Hank McCoy. He's had two lackluster movie appearances (Kelsey Grammar in X-Men 3: The Last Stand and Nicolas Hoult in X-Men First Class) but Joss proved with the Hulk and the Black Widow, that he can reenergize characters without completely reinventing them.
A difficulty: he's blue and jumps around a lot which might look ridiculously like A Synchronized Superheroing Sport with the green and jumpy one in the mix (and you know the Hulk is getting a bigger part in The Avengers 2).
Speaking of characters that have been mishandled in previous movies. The Daredevil movie (and its spinoff Elektra) had absolutely no business being as awful as it was given that its source material was a pretty damn terrific comic book story. Frank Miller's dark violent and fascinating run on the series threw the assassins Elektra and Bullseye against the blind crime fighter and against each other and it should have been a great great movie. But here's the thing. You need imaginative directors, good casting, and the right tonal choices to make a great movie and Daredevil had none of those virtues. The best thing that could happen to Daredevil as a film character would be Marvel Studios buying back the rights and rebooting him through either his own standalone feature or in a supporting role, a la Hawkeye.
It's worth noting also that Daredevil has a pretty rich comic book history with Natasha Romanoff (The Black Widow) so he'd be easy to pull in to the narrative via Scarlett Johansson's assassin.
I mention Firestar primarily because she is a woman, it's true. Quota! But there's a deeper more nostalgic reason. Everyone and their inner child was sad when Spider-Man didn't swing into the Manhattan action at the tale end of The Avengers. You can't have New York City superheroics without Spidey!
Since Sony is as likely to release the movie rights to Spider-Man as America is to boycott summer movies and superheroes forever more, isn't Firestar the next best thing? She debuted on TV as one of Spider-Man's "Amazing Friends" in 1981 forever tying her to the webslinger in the eyes of an entire generation. And she even did a stint as an Avenger in the 1990s.
04 The Human Torch
Swerving towards the Fantastic Four here. But if someone is never going to make an Aquaman movie, though so many wish he would, whether ironically or un, shouldn't someone make a Namor movie. Water-based movies are notoriously expensive whether ships are sinking or the whole world is drowning but they can look exceedingly cool onscreen. And Namor's arrogance would fit right into the Thor / Tony Stark "me party" dynamic.
Mostly I just want to see The Human Torch again onscreen for more Chris Evans snark... oh. Damn. Chris Evans, otherwise occupied.
03 The Wasp
If Edgar Wright ever makes that Ant Man movie, we could see either or both of the Pims (Henry and Janet), the shrinking superheroes in the mix. They're the only founding members of the team that weren't featured in the film version.
But maybe Joss isn't in her, using her as the but of his joke in his awesome jokey thank you to fans on Whedonesque wherein he quotes an imaginary Saturn awards speech:
[Reads from notecard]. I couldn’t have done this myself. Part of this Saturn Award belongs to Jeremy Latcham, Kevin Feige, and the fine Marvel folk… But the secret ingredient is my closest peeps: J-Mo, who did uncredited punch-up work (carrier battle, yo!), Z-bro, Drew “I am Loki only taller and foppier” Goddard, and Kai, all of whom worked the story with me. Without them (and Jeremy), I’d still be figuring out how the Wasp fits in to this, and where to put Red Hulk."
So maybe no Wasp?
01 The Scarlet Witch
Ever since I was a wee boy, this brother and sister duo fascinated me. And for a long time The Scarlet Witch, at least, was a mainstay of The Avengers team. Like most non household name comic book characters, the siblings have had their origin stories messed with multiple times but my preferred reality is that they are the twin children of Magneto (!!!)and still siblings rather than lovers (which I'm hearing they're recently been rewritten as?).
The only sibling superheroes we've seen onscreen were in the truly terrible Fantastic Four movies, and who better to find ways to illustrate a complicated sibling bond with questionable family backstory than Joss Whedon? Plus, nobody on the current Avengers team has superspeed (Quicksilver) or magical powers (The Scarlet Witch) so the movie would be working with fresh material for its battle sequences.
But most importantly, the superhero genre desperately needs more female energy and The Scarlet Witch is the single best female Avenger. Bonus points if Whedon can come up with a more exciting way to show Wanda's "hex" power once it leaves her hands other than colored energy blasts of CGI light a la Harry Potter.