Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Marvel after Guardians 2: Where do we go from here?

After Age of Ultron, I did a post on the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Where would it go, what would we see? What would the movies consist of?

I did the same thing after Captain America: Civil War ... which was only last year. Huh.

I didn't do anything after Doctor Strange ... though I don't recall why. Probably because it didn't have a lot to add.

It goes without saying that everything from here on out is going to have spoilers for the franchise to date. If you've seen Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2, the only spoilers will be speculation that I might get right. Also, perhaps some comic book spoilers.

If you don't want spoilers, STOP NOW.

Now then, where were we....?

After Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2...

Infinity Gems in The Line up

Throughout the series the Infinity Gems have been the major MacGuffin devices: The Tesseract / Cosmic Cube, the "mind gem" in Vision's head, the "Aether" of Thor: The Dark World, Guardians of the Galaxy delivered one to the planet of the Nova corps.... and Doctor Strange showed us a gem in the amulet of Agimotto.

Which means there is still one infinity gem left out there.

Given everything that's happened thus far, I'm surprised how little Phase 3 has been about the build up to Avengers: Infinity War.  Especially considering how little Thanos has made an appearance. The main villain, Thanos, has been a background character in three films: Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Age of Ultron, and that's about it. And yet, he's barely been involved. A little more on this later, but ... Thanos is supposed to be the villain behind everything since Avengers (okay, not everything, he's not Moriarty, but still): he provided Loki an army, unleashed a crazed Kree on the universe, and .... he showed up for a second after the credits of Age of Ultron. That's it.

On screen, we know nothing about his character, his goals, or why he wants the gems.

At this point, I'm seriously wondering just how much screen time Thanos is going to have in the upcoming films. By the time Inifinity War comes up, we will have been building towards him for a decade. (Iron Man came out in 2008).

The lineup thus far is
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
  • Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
  • Black Panther (2018)
  • Avengers: Infinity War Part I (2018)
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
  • Captain Marvel (2019)
  • Avengers: Infinity War Part II (2019)
If you're wondering what happened to the Inhumans movie, Agents of SHIELD happened, that's what.

And yes, Spider-Man, even though he's shared by Sony, will be part of the MCU from here on in.

We'll also know that there is one Infinity gem left in play.

I'm going to cut out everything that isn't new, so check out the previous post to get the full story.

Where is Thanos? 

My mind is blown at how we didn't see any hint of Thanos or the infinity gems in Guardians 2. Nebula complained about how Thanos abused her growing up. But he's barely been in this franchise. Despite his appearances, even in Ultron, all he's done has been to back Loki in Avengers and the Kree in Guardians. He's had a handful of lines in the three films we've seen him in. If he's had a full page of dialogue, I'd be surprised. At best, he's a consulting supervillain.

I expected that Guardians 2 would at least have had Thanos attacking the Nova Corps to get the MacGuffin gem from GotG.

The last Gem

I was surprised that they didn't use a single gem as a plot point in Guardians 2.

Infinity gems we've done:
  • The Cube (Captain America, Avengers) currently in Asgard
  • The Eye (Doctor Strange), currently with the rest of the sorcerers.
  • The Aether (Thor: The Dark World), last seen with the Collector
  • Mind Gem (Age of Ultron), last seen with Vision, 
  • Purple Gem, (Guardians of the Galaxy), with the Nova Corps  

There is still ONE MORE GEM kicking around.  So where the bleep is it.

Is it possible that we can see the last gem in...
  • Thor: Ragnarok (2017)? Possible, but I doubt it. Asgard already has the Cube. Though I suppose Hel could be using a gem to trash Asgard.
  • Black Panther (2018)? Gee, what does Wakanda use for a power supply?
  • Avengers: Infinity War Part I (2018)? Could they be holding off until this film to reveal the last gem? Not impossible ... not sure if it's likely. I'm told that Thanos will have the whole set by the end of this film... but they could be lying.
  • Captain Marvel (2019)? It's not impossible, given the premise of Captain Marvel. More on her later.
  • Avengers: Infinity War Part II (2019)? Again, Thanos should have everything by the end of the first part. So we'll see. Marvel lies.
I suppose that they could easily hold off on the last gem until Infinity War part one. That way, we can unite Marvel cosmic with Earth bound Marvel.

Adam Warlock

There was only one reason for the the writers to have brought out the Sovereign race (the gold people) to be in this film, and it's setting up Adam Warlock, as I said last time.


This guy.

As I predicted, they're following enough of the original 1991 Infinity Gauntlet storyline that Adam Warlock made a cameo. Who is he and what does he do? Well, having read the Infinity Gauntlet comic ... I have no idea. He was designed to be the perfect creature, and was trapped in one of the infinity gems for a while, giving him a tight connection to the Gauntlet.

.... A connection he won't have time to develop at this point. Which is going to be strange. But then, it's Marvel Cosmic. It's all strange.

Celestials / Watchers

Stan Lee's cameo in this one is stranger than usual, as he's talking to a race of large, big-headed creatures. They're called Watchers and they're supposed to observe reality, even though they're really powerful, and could probably warp reality whenever they like. Earth's watcher is named Uatu.

The Watchers are Celestials, which Ego, the Living Planet, is. A celestial is, as it sounds -- a celestial being. They're all powerful, beyond reason, even. Galactus, who literally eats planets, is one of the least powerful Celestials. One of the other Celestials makes a cameo appearance in the movie, mostly by name -- Eternity. Yes, In the Marvel Cosmic universe, there is an entity called Eternity, which is the embodiment of all of space and time.

In the original Infinity Gauntlet storyline, the celestials went up against Thanos, armed with the gauntlet. This included Eternity.

Thanos won.

Consider this a moment, and just consider how deeply everyone is screwed.

The Ravagers

Yondu's people, the Ravagers, are either space pirates or space rednecks, depending on who you listen to. The cameos included Sylvester Stallone, Ving Rhames, Michelle Yeoh, as well as a magic user.

Does anyone think that Marvel wants to waste these three actors on cameos? They are heavy hitting actors, after all.  And one of them uses Doctor Strange level magic.

I don't think so either.

My best guess right now is that they're an army that they're holding in reserve for yet another end-film epic space battle. I had originally considered that, if anyone uses the Defenders in a film, they'd basically be holding off footsoldiers. It could be that they use Ravagers instead, depending on the context.

But yeah, I could see another space battle with the Ravagers to the rescue. We could see them in anything involving Marvel Cosmic -- Ragnarok or Captain Marvel.


From what I can see, Thor: Ragnarok will serve as I predicted -- performing the same purpose as Civil War by moving players off of the chess board.

At least PART of Ragnarok should have Thanos. At the very least, it should have him in a final, post-credit scene in which he goes through the wreckage of Asgard, coming up with the Infinity gauntlet, and probably the Tesseract. It would basically be the final post credit scene from Age of Ultron. 

Since GotG 2 only talked about Thanos, this must be the movie that shows off what a threat level he truly is. Yes, I know that the one attacking Asgard in the trailer is a woman named Hel, or Hella, but if she's sent there by Thanos ... well then, if she's a lacky, imagine what he's like as the boss?

Doctor Strange

Again, Strange has an infinity gem.

But, more importantly, we know that Strange ends up helping Thor (and Loki) in the post-credit scenes of Strange's film.

  1. Does Thor come to Strange in the middle of Ragnarok?
  2. Does Thor meet up with Strange between Ragnarok and Infinity War and we don't see what happens? Thor just shows up and bellows, "This is Strange! He is a mighty warrior and friend! Who helped me find Odin!"
  3. Or do Thor and Loki come to Strange during Infinity War?
Good questions. No idea. It all depends on how they want to play it. I'd like to see Strange in act 3 of Ragnarok, but I can't guess too

Black Panther

Again, check the previous post on this one.

Again, possibly, this might have Infinity Gem #6. Because let's face it, Wakanda has to run on something  as a power source.

Avengers: Infinity War, Part I

Depending on how this plays out, by the time this film opens, Thanos will at least have one out of the 6 gems-- and my bet is on the Cosmic cube.

It might be easy for him to get #2 from the Collector.

It'll be trickier to get #3 from Xandar. In short order, the Nova corps will be under attack in the first half of this film. Unless Thanos is going to bluff and trick his way into the good graces of the Nova corps -- however, since some people already know the name Thanos (like Drax) I think it's unlikely he can just smile and charm his way through the front door.

In short: expect a full on war as the opening gambit.

Obviously, it won't be too much like that. Remember, Thanos is playing a long game, and the opening of Infinity War could be similar to the opening of the first Avengers: a little bit of a monologue about the plan. Maybe they'll show us Thanos as a villain connected to the rest of the films, and his motivations along the way?

But after Asgard, the Collector, and the Nova corps, Thanos should be on his way to Earth. Vision has the Mind gem, and Strange has a gem of Time. If Thanos wants to collect the whole set, he has to go through the wielder of at least one, if not two gems.

Which means Thanos is going to have to go through a half dozen low rent Avengers (ie: Iron Man's Avenger team)and the sorcerers of Doctor Strange.

As I said last time, I suspect the bulk of this movie will be picking up the pieces of Civil War, bringing everyone back on board. I suspect it will also bring Stephen Strange into the Avengers (whatever may or may not be left of them).

Expect the last scene of the movie to have a money shot of every last superhero gathered in one space with the obligatory "Let's get to work" or even, maybe,just maybe, "Avengers, ASSEMBLE!" Yes, that would be one crowded room.

If I took Marvel seriously when they insisted that Coulson would be back for Avengers 3, right after "Avengers Assemble," Coulson should appear out of nowhere and answer "Whatever you say Captain."

.....But I don't have have that much confidence in them.

For all I know, this one could open with Thor crashing into Earth after Ragnarok, and playing Paul Revere: Thanos is coming, Thanos is coming! It's time to mount up.

At the end of the day, part one should be about getting the band back together.  The Russo brothers (in charge of the franchise right now) have already said that more characters will be coming in with this one. That would make a certain level of sense.

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

The fact that this sequel takes place in between films makes me think that Thanos may not be on Earth by the end of Infinity War Part I. Otherwise, nothing else would be going on.

Though it's possible that the film will take place before the opening of Infinity War, but who knows?

Though the end of this one might have an Avenger knocking on his door saying "Suit up. We have work to do."

Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers is, essentially, an Inhuman (as seen on Agents of SHIELD) an alien weapons program that tried to turn other races into living weapons of death.  In the AoS franchise, the official Inhumans license is due to the Kree ... in the comic books, the Skrulls created Captain Marvel, but we haven't seen the Skrulls, because Fox still has the license for them.

If we're going to do yet another flipping origin story (please God, no), we may start with Carol Danvers being abducted by aliens to be experimented upon. She gets powers, she gets loose, she goes to town on her captors as she fights her way back to Earth.... or she can get a ride back to Earth in an after-credits scene with Christ Pratt. Perhaps.

If the GotG aren't already in Infinity War part 1, I will lay money, right here, right now, that Carol Danvers will be given a ride home (in a post-credit scene), by the Guardians. Because this is another way to bring this particular band of misfits to Earth.

Right now, we need a link between Marvel Earth and Marvel Cosmic. Thor and Marvel are really the only places that it can happen outside of Infinity War.

Infinity War Part II

Welcome to the End of All Things.  This should be the biggest, baddest, most epic shootout ever.

Again, I've heard that Thanos will have every gem by the end of Infinity War Part 1. Yes, I know it's not the title anymore, so shoot me. I don't have a better one, unless it's Infinity Quest.

But since we were told one thing and got another for Guardians 2 (Facebook remembers all), I'm not going to place money on being told the truth from anybody at Marvel.

So my options are.
  1. The Avengers are in a beat-the-clock chase to collect all the Infinity Gems before Thanos can get them, 
  2. We're going to defend the gems of Earth!
  3. "Thanos has all the gems, and the gauntlet, and we're screwed."

If it's #3, this might be their excuse to start recasting certain actors (like Robert Downey Jr., who is both awesome, and getting too old for this, and reaching 9 Marvel films by this point).

Yes, Infinity War #1 could end with Thanos getting the final infinity gem. Except I've read the original comic book. Think of it this way: any one of these gems seen thus far can destroy a planet, if not the universe. Now collect all six....

It will be bad for our heroes. In the comic, when Thanos had all six gems, he won. Against everybody. And then he did something truly stupid.

Obviously, the people who have gems will feature heavily in this one.  Vision and Doctor Strange may not be enough, even if they're both at their full potential.

If they're lucky, this battle will take place in outer space, and not on Earth.

If it takes place on Earth, let's hope it takes place in a desert that doesn't have a lot of people.

Also, remember all of the street-level fighting that happened in The Avengers? If the Russos really want to play ball with every character ever, then we should have NetFlix meet up with The Avengers. Especially since The Defenders show up this year. They could dealwith the street-level, "Save the civilians" work while the heavy hitters try to stop the threat. However, given how little interaction there has been, I'm not holding my breath.

My money is more on the Ravagers acting as the infantry.

I think that's all I have right now. We'll see if I'm right about any of this. But there are pieces of the puzzle starting to emerge, though I'm surprised at how many are still in the shadows.

We'll see.

The Dragon Awards are open and ready for nominations, and I have a list of suggestions you might want to take a look at. If you already  have a good idea of what you want, just click here to go and vote for them. The instructions are right there.

The Love at First Bite series. 


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