PODCAST: Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 4! & More From SDCC ‘19!

Hi Everyone,

Paul here…

On this week’s episode of The World’s Best Podcast, after this year’s EPIC San Diego Comic-Con, co-host Paul Sr. and I break down all of the coolest announcements,  including the huge presentation from Marvel Studios revealing the movies and TV series that will be apart of MCU PHASE 4! The Eternals, Shang-Chi and The Legend Of The Ten Rings, Doctor Strange and The Multiverse Of Madness, Thor: Love & Thunder, & more! We also discuss this year’s massive Arrowverse crossover, Crisis On Infinite Earths! Finally, we review the new series from Amazon Prime, The Boys!

We also have some cool news we didn’t get a chance to cover in the podcast that we have posted below for you to check out.

Listen to the episode here or subscribe on Stitcher, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, and iTunes/Apple Podcasts: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/18653413

iTunes/Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-worlds-best-podcast/id1246038441#episodeGuid=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.spreaker.com%2Fepisode%2F18653413

MORE NEWS FROM SDCC 2019

The ARROWVERSE & Crisis On Infinite Earths –

DC’s Arrowverse panels had a lot of cool details and trailers from the upcoming seasons of each show. Perhaps more excitingly, we got some more info on their EPIC crossover: Crisis On Infinite Earths…

Considering this crossover will be dealing with The Multiverse and Parallel Realities, it comes as no surprise that we will be seeing different versions of characters we already know, but in different roles. In addition to hearing that Burt Ward will be making a cameo as Robin from another reality, we also learned that Brandon Routh who plays Ray Palmer on Legends Of Tomorrow will be taking on an exciting new role in the crossover. Routh famously played Superman in Bryan Singer’s 2006 Superman Returns, in the crossover he’ll also be playing Superman once again for Crisis On Infinite Earths, but not just any Superman, Kingdom Come Superman! It hasn’t been confirmed if Ray AKA The Atom and this version of Superman will actually meet face to face, but that would be pretty damn cool.

Routh is wearing a T-Shirt with the Kingdom Come Superman symbol

Kingdom Come is a classic Justice League story written by Mark Waid with art by Alex Ross, about the twilight of the classic DC heroes and the new, violent generation of meta-humans who are trying to replace them. Featuring this older, world weary version of Superman into the crossover is very exciting. It’s also been confirmed that Tyler Hoechlin will be returning as Clark Kent/Superman and Jon Cryer will be returning as Lex Luthor.

We also got what may be our first look at THE BIG BAD of Crisis On Infinite Earths, The Anti-Monitor with this concept art that popped up during Comic-Con…

We also got these pictures of new looks for Diggle and Laurel on Arrow.

Finally, here’s a better look at Supergirl’s cool new uniform from her upcoming season…

THE MCU: PHASE 4 (Pictures and Concept Art)

Below we have some cool pieces of concept art and behind the scene pictures from Marvel’s Phase 4 projects. Take a look…

Black Widow (Black Widow Vs. Taskmaster)

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier (Baron Zemo)

The Eternals (The Celestials)

Thanks for listening and reading!

-Paul

SDCC 2019!!! Continuing Coverage….

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

As this year’s San Diego Comic-Con continues, breaking news, trailers, announcements, and other cool reveals keep on blowing minds of fans everywhere! But it can be a pain in the ass trying to find all the SDCC news. So keep it HERE at World’s Best Media, where you can find all of the up to the minuet info, you want the most! We’ll be updating this page all weekend with the breaking news and content that can’t be missed from SDCC 2019!

WOW. We got some killer stuff today! At the Marvel Studios panel, Kevin Feige did not disappoint. He rolled out the next 2 years of Marvel’s PHASE 4 slate, which will consist of 10 projects. They include both theatrical releases and projects to be released on Disney +. Plus, Feige offers up some tantalizing hints on MCU projects coming after the slate of shows and films. It’s all pretty exciting, so I’m going to break it down for you right here…

MARVEL STUDIOS PHASE 4 (The Next 2 Years)

The EternalsRelease date 11/6/20

Dir. – Chloe Zhao

Staring – Angelina Jolie as Thena , Richard Madden as Ikaris. The cast also includes Selma Hayek.

The story of the film, broadly speaking, follows The Eternals, a race of aliens imbued with power and immortality by The Celestials (some of the most powerful beings in the existence of The Marvel Universe). The Eternals are charged with protecting Earth and humanity from The Deviants, an evil, monstrous mirror race of The Eternals. To use a poor analogy. Think of The Eternals and Angels and The Deviants as Demons.

The Flacon and The Winter Soldier Release Date – Fall 2020 on Disney +

Starring – Anthony Makie as The Falcon/Captain America, Sebastian Stan as The Winter Soldier, and Daniel Bruhl returning as Baron Helmut Zemo ( This time he WILL be getting the classic Baron Zemo mask!)

As expected, this series will see Anthony Mackie don his really cool Captain America uniform which is a combination of The Falcon in Captain America’s classic look. So it seems like this series will be about Sam Wilson adjusting to this great weight on his shoulders and Bucky Barnes being with him along the way, like he was with Steve Rogers. All the while having to deal with Baron Zemo not much more than that is known at this time. But I can’t wait for this one, I think it’s going to be really cool.

Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings – Release Date 2/12/2021

Dir. Denton Daniel Cretton

Starring – Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, Tony Leung as The REAL Mandarin

Not much is know about the story at this time. Shang-Chi is the greatest martial artist in the world. He’s a hero and adventurer. In the comics his father was the criminal mastermind Fu Manchu. I can see for racial reasons why Marvel wouldn’t want to use that character. So I strongly suspect that The Mandarin will be Shang-Chi’s father in this movie. A lot of the character drama from Shang-Chi’s story comes from the pain he feels being a hero who wants to do the right thing, when his father is one of the greatest villains in the world. Despite the fact that The Mandarin was smoke and mirrors in Iron Man 3, it’s been strongly suggested that a “real” Mandarin is out there. For several years, Marvel would release fun short films as an extra feature on the Blu-Rays for their movies. The last one Marvel produced was on the Blu-Ray for Thor: The Dark World and called “All Hail The King”. In that short film, it’s revealed that Aldrich Killian co-opted much of his bullshit Mandarin story from some real sources and it turns out that The Mandarin is a very real, very dangerous guy, who is very pissed that his name had been dragged through the mud in Iron Man 3. The film ends with one of The TRUE Mandarin’s disciples, breaking Trevor Slattery (played by Ben Kingsley) out of prison, the actor who played the fake Mandarin for Aldrich Killian, so he can face justice at the hands of the real Mandarin. So, we’ve known for a while that the real Mandarin was out there and it was only a matter of time before we see him somewhere in The MCU. This is the perfect project to use him in. It’s also worth pointing out that the terrorist group who originally kidnapped Tony Stark in the very first Iron Man movie was called The Ten Rings.

WandaVision – Release Date Spring 2021 on Disney +

Starring – Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff, Paul Bettany as The Vision, Teyonah Paris as adult Monica Rambeau (the daughter of Carol’s best friend in Captain Marvel)

For some reason people seem to be down on this project, but I think it has the potential to be something special. Kevin Feige he himself has said that this series is very strange. One of the more interesting things about Wanda maxim off is her exponentially growing power and her increased mental stability. Panel confirmed that this series takes place after endgame. Which makes me wonder, have a wonders abilities progressed to the point where she can resurrect vision, as she eventually has the power to do in the comics at great cost.

LOKI – Release Date Spring 2021 Disney +

Starring – Tom Hiddleston as Loki

As we saw in endgame, low-key managed to get away with the space stone. Apparently this show will be a trip through history and Loki is very long life. I’ve heard it described is almost something like quantum leap. It appears that it will involve low-key mixing it up at important historical events with famous historical figures. Which sounds like a whole Lotta fucking fun. I am in.

Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness – Release Date 5/7/2021

Dir. Scott Derrickson

Starring – Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange and Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff

OK, this is the movie I’ve been fucking waiting for. According to director Scott Derrickson, this will be Marvel’s first “scary movie“. Which is about as close as you can get to saying you’re going to do a horror movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you don’t think that’s awesome, there’s something fucking wrong with you. Doctor Strange was a great origin movie and in Infinity War and Endgame, we got to see a lot of cool shit from Doctor Strange and what he’s capable of. I can’t wait to see how his powers have progressed. It’s important to note that this director knows how to do a really creepy, disquieting, fucked up movie. Hopefully Marvel will let him embrace that. It’s also really interesting to see Scarlet Witch in this movie, though not completely surprising, because in the comics it’s been suggested multiple times that her powers are magic-based. Maybe she will turn to Doctor Strange after something that happened in WandaVision? Who knows. But I can’t wait for this one! The more Doctor Strange the better!

Hawkeye– Release Date Fall 2021 on Disney +

Starring – Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye

This looks like it may be more of a limited series than some of the other shows on Disney +, but it will apparently focus on Clint Barton training a new protégé, a girl named Kate Bishop, making her first MCU appearance. In the comic books, after years of training with Clint Barton and other superheroes, Kate is viewed more as a hero in her own right, rather than simply being Clint’s sidekick. In fact, both Cling and Kate both go by. I know it can be confusing, but hey that’s those crazy comics for, ya! The series will also explore Clint’s time as Ronin in the wake of Thanos’ decimation. This show looks like it’s heavily borrowing from the fantastic Hawkeye comic book run by writer Matt Fraction and Artist David Aja.

Thor: Love and Thunder – Release Date 11/5/2021

Dir. Taika Waititi

Starrring – Chris Hemsworth as Thor/Odinson, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, Natalie Portman as Jane Foster/Thor

So I love the direction they’re going in with this new movie. First of all, I was thrilled another Thor film was being made, and they were bringing back the same director: Taika Waititi, who gave us the fantastic Thor: Ragnarok. But it also seems like the story will be largely taking it’s cues from the recent and ongoing Thor comic book run by writer Jason Aaron. Which is a good thing, because it’s probably one of the best Thor stories that I’ve ever read.

In that story, due to a complicated series of events, Thor is no longer worthy of wielding his mighty hammer; Mijonir. Meanwhile, Jane Foster has been fighting her own battles, against the cancer that has ravaged her body. In this story, a Parliament of World’s is formed. Like a U.N. for The Ten Realms, set up to keep the peace throughout the realms and it’s people. Jane is the representative from Midgard, so even though she and Thor are no longer dating, she spends quite a bit of time in new Asgard and has made some wonderful new friends in the process. The Parliament meets on New Asgard (a shadow of Asgard’s glory days) which resides on Earth’s Moon. As a sidenote, at this point Asgard has taken up residence on an area near what they called the “Blue Area” of the moon. It’s the only place on the moon that perfectly simulates Earth’s pressure, gravity, temperature , and most importantly, you can breathe there.

So, while on a walk through the blue area of the moon, contemplating her depressing situation, Jane Foster comes across Mijonir and attempts to lift Thor’s legendary hammer (after Thor has spent months attempting to lift it unsuccessfully) and as the inscription says, “whosoever holds this hammer, should they be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor“ At which point Jane’s shocked to see herself turned into a beautiful, god-like, female version of Thor. She is unrecognizable as Jane Foster. Now I can already hear some of the assholes on the Internet complaining that a woman will be, in a way, playing Thor. First of all, in the comics, this is one of the best Thor stories they have done in years. A great story is simply a great story. Also, this isn’t just a story about Jane Foster. It’s also is a very profound story about Asgard and Thor himself.

So for you idiots thinking Thor is going to get kicked to the wayside because of some bullshit liberal agenda…relax. The movies going to be great. I am really thrilled to see Marvel is taking some interesting chances with their with their projects. I have a few guesses, but I can’t wait to see who the villain will be in this movie. Gorr The God Butcher, perhaps? We can only hope!

Black Widow – Release Date 5/1/2020

Dir. Cate Shortland

Starring – Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Rachel Weiss and David Harbour appearing in unknown rolls

This movie will be a prequel taking place before Captain America: Civil War. It will feature such classic Marvel bad guys as Taskmaster, who I’m very excited to see. Natasha also faces off against the “evil Black Widow”, Yelena, another product of The Red Room Program. This woman is Natasha if Hawkeye never showed her a better way to live and became here friend. Yelena is a vicious, manipulative killer, a mirror image of what Natasha could have become. This will be the next Marvel movie we have to look forward to. I think this is a long time coming. Black Widow is more than capable of carrying her own film. It will be really cool to see how they incorporate this into some other events in a MCU history.

Before things wrapped up, Kevin Feige had one more surprise for the crowd. After listing all of these projects, he brought out, the fantastic actor, Mahershala Ali, and announced Ali will be playing Blade in an upcoming movie, introduce The Day Walker to the MCU. No release date has been announced . That is pretty fucking cool nonetheless. Ali is a fantastic actor. He’s perfect for this role. There have been rumblings of Blade in the MCU for a few years now ( even some suggesting Wesley Snipes would return ) so it’s going to be really exciting to see what they do with the character.

Feige wrapped things up by explaining this is what they have in production that will be hitting theatres and screens over the next 2 years. Two years is a lot shorter than any of the previous phases of the MCU, which makes me think that this is just the first half of Phase 4 and more announcements will be made along the way. However, he closed things out by saying Guardians Vol.3, Black Panther 2, Captain Marvel 2, and (FUCK YES) The Fantastic Four!!! will be coming soon after these projects. He had to drive the crowd wild by mentioning one more thing coming soon, one word:“Mutants.” So that was the Marvel Studios presentation this year. It certainly did not disappoint.

New Trailers For Movies & TV Series

Watchmen:

Westworld-Season 3:

Arrow – The Final Season

Supergirl – Season 5

The Witcher (Netflix)

The Flash Season 6

Star Trek: Picard

Supernatural: The Final Season (Chevy Impala Tribute)

OTHER NEWS

  • DC Universe announced that their series Young Justice will officially be back for a fourth season.

More to comes as it becomes available…

Thanks for reading!

-Paul

PODCAST: AVENGERS:ENDGAME Review (SPOILERS)!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

Holy Fuck! Avengers: Endgame is finally here! I wanna say right up front that there will be absolutely NO SPOILERS in this article. However, we go into FULL SPOILERS in our deep dive review of Avengers: Endgame on this episode of The World’s Best Podcast! My Marvel Movie companion, Paul Sr. and I had a chance to see the movie a few days early, but we wanted to wait until at least some of our listeners had a chance to see the film, before we posted this SPOILER-RIFFIC review.

 It so rare for movies to live up to the hype, but Endgame manages to surpass expectations. One of the many things fans love about comics, especially from DC and MARVEL, is the interconnected universes. You could be reading a Spider-Man comic and the X-Men or Iron Man or Daredevil would pop up. That was the ingredient that had been missing from superhero movies when the “Superhero Boom” began with movies like Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man and Singer’s X-Men

It seems so obvious, but it was still brilliant. I remember seeing Iron Man for the first time and being blown away that SHIELD was in the movie. It seems so small now, in retrospect, but that little addition made it feel like the Marvel Universe (It was also the first appearance of fan favorite character, Agent Phil Coulson). Then of course there’s the immortal post credits scene from the first Iron Man film, when Tony meets Nick Fury which I’ve posted here below:

The beginning…

Building off the incredible success of Iron Man and then creating 22 films that make this beautiful tapestry of a story, is mind blowing. The fact that out of the 22 films released so far, there have been so few missteps is astonishing. Even their weakest movies, and there’s only 3 or 4 like Thor: The Dark World, are pretty good or not bad at their worst. Everything else is more less gold.

The Russo Brothers, who’ve directed Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and now Avengers: Endgame, absolutely stuck the landing with this movie, it’s a must see. The films directed by The Russo Brothers, Joe and Anthony, aired the 4 best films in The MCU. Who would’ve thought that guys who worked on TV shows like Community would go on to tell some of the most epic stories of our generation? For the record, I loved Community.

The Infinity Stones…

I think the real hero in all of this is Kevin Feige, the head of Marvel Studios. He was not only a massive fan of the source material, but he’d seen what mistakes other Marvel superhero films had made in the past and learned from them. So when it was time for Marvel Studios to start producing their own films, he knew what he was doing and he got the right people involved to work with them. Another huge kudos goes out to Casting Director Sarah Finn, who’s worked on almost all of the films, if not all of them. With maybe one or two exceptions out of literally hundreds, each character was a flawlessly cast. We owe a lot to her work as the reason these films came out so well.

All right then, enough chitchat. You can check out our podcast on Avengers:Endgame right here or you can subscribe on Spotify, Stitcher or iTunes: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/17766535

iTunes:

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Stitcher:

Thanks for listening!

-Paul


Avengers: Endgame, Disney +, and The Future of The MCU!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here,

I know what you’re thinking, “Didn’t the first trailer drop for the final film in a franchise Paul is obsessed with to an unhealthy degree? Why isn’t he on that like flies on shit!?” A very fair question. I’ll just say we have quite a bit on that in the very near future, so stay tuned…

Anyway, with just a few agonizing weeks until Avengers: Endgame hits theatres, it feels like the movie cant get here fast enough. In the meantime, I have some cool stuff to share to make the wait a little easier.

This fantastic poster was done exclusively for MARVEL by BossLogic

First off, Entertainment Weekly and their website EW.com always give fantastic coverage to genre entertainment. From Game of Thrones to Star Wars they always have some great content. The MCU is no exception, for their cover story this week they put out 6 exclusive covers featuring each of the founding Avengers. Check them out:

Another magazine, Empire, probably the best movie magazine in the world had this awesome cover of Thanos in full armor for this month’s issue:

Pretty cool right? We also had some light shed on some intriguing upcoming MCU projects. Marvel and Kevin Feige made some big announcements this week that made me VERY excited. Pretty much since I began reading comics, Hawkeye was always my favorite Avenger. In the Avengers comics, he’s a much more beloved character. To many comic book readers, Clint Barton is THE quintessential Avenger. Even more so than Cap or Iron Man.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Jeremy Renner is a great Hawkeye (Though I do think Jensen Ackles who passed on the role to continue playing Dean Winchester on Supernatural would be closer to the comic book interpretation). However, I do feel like audiences haven’t fallen in love with Hawkeye as much as other characters in the MCU. I don’t think this is Renner’s fault at all, I think he’s great with what he’s given. Any failures when it comes to Hawkeye lie with the writers and how they’ve chosen to use him in the stories.

I think Hawkeye really got his time to shine in Avengers: Age of Ultron. I know that’s one of the more divisive MCU films, but I love it. Hawkeye has some fantastic moments throughout the film, I’d even go so far as to say Hawkeye is the central Avenger in the movie. He even has a cool costume upgrade with a coat that harkened back to his classic comic book look.


A number of things stand out to show the audience his importance in the film: He has few great action sequences, I think they stepped up the archery tricks and showed off Hawkeye’s agility and acrobatic skills. More importantly, I loved the surprising look into his private life on his family’s farm, it’s the type of scene I adore in MCU movies. The Avengers. In one place. Together. Their chemistry is so real. I don’t care of it’s played for laughs or heavier dramatic scenes. I love seeing The Avengers put into situations where the chemistry between the characters shines and The Farm scenes facilitate that. It’s sort of implied that he’s the rock on the team. He’s the guy who’s going to always show up and get the job done. Like Clint’s wife says “I see these guys, these… gods…” Clint replies “You don’t think they need me.” His wife says finally “I think they do, which is a lot scarier.”. The last thing I want to mention is one of my favorite scenes in the movie. At the beginning of The Ultron Offensive on Socaovia there this awesome scene/speech with Hawkeye and Wanda which you can watch here:

All of this has been a long winded way of saying that despite what some people think, Hawkeye is a great character. I always thought the ideal way to tell a fantastic Hawkeye story would be a TV series, like what they were doing on Netflix. Even though we’ve lost great characters like Daredevil to the Netflix purge, the good news is Jeremy Renner will be starring as Hawkeye in his own miniseries on Disney Plus. The more I hear about Disney Plus, the better it sounds. After all Disney does have all the good toys to play with. The Hawkeye series will be one of the first Marvel miniseries to launch with the new streaming service. The story will focus on Clint and his protege Kate Bishop. In the trailer for Endgame we see Hawkeye teaching a teenage girl archery. Is this his daughter? In the comics Kate Bishop isn’t related to Hawkeye. Will they change the character for this series and make Kate Bishop his daughter or will they introduce here as a completely new character? Time will tell.

This sounds like the series will be taking it’s cues from the fantastic Hawkeye comic book series written by Matt Fraction and artist David Aja. The entire series is avaiable in trade paperback with a hardcover omnibus containing the entire run. This is one of the best Marvel comic of the last decade, so I’ll be thrilled if the miniseries even partially adapts this comic book run. Which is pretty much what Marvel usually does anyway. Like Civil War and Planet Hulk, Marvel never directly adapts these stories, they take what they need from the story that will work within the context of the MCU. The first volume of this Hawkeye series is “My Life As A Weapon” and I strongly recommend giving it a read. You can pick up the book here on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hawkeye-Vol-Life-Weapon-Marvel/dp/0785165622/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3TSGCJUV1IWW4&keywords=hawkeye+my+life+as+a+weapon&qid=1555198699&s=gateway&sprefix=Hawkeye+my%2Caps%2C146&sr=8-1

Other miniseries announced for Disney Plus include Loki, a prequel taking place before his death at the hands of Thanos, this series will chronicle the trouble marking shenanigans and adventures of The God of Mischief over the several thousand years he’s been alive in the MCU. We also have a Vision & Scarlet Witch miniseries called WandaVision, which we know the least about right now.

Finally, we have The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, the team up series about Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes. This is speculation on my part, but one way or another I strongly believe Steve Rogers is not going to make it out of Endgame. I think he’ll probably die or at the very least, be taken off the board in some way. Considering that Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson have both carried the mantel of Captain America in the comic books in the past, I wouldn’t be surprised if this miniseries revolves around some kind of Who Wields The Shield concept. Who will be the next Captain America? Factoring in the two of them don’t like each other all that much, just makes it that much more interesting. It isn’t the best resolution, but we do have our first look a the logo for the miniseries, which I have posted below.

This is and Hawkeye are the Disney + shows I’m most looking forward too.

Along with The other MCU series I mentioned an animated What if? series is in the works. Like What if Peggy Carter beacame Captain America? or What of Loki was able to use Mjonir?

Disney + will be launching on November 12th for $6.99 per month or $69.99 for the year. In addition to the original content, 500 movies from the Disney library will be available along with 7,000 episodes of Disney TV shows. To put a cherry on top, The Mandelorian will premier on November 12th, available to watch the whole season as soon as the service launches. Disney + will also be the exclusive home to ALL EPISODES of The Simpsons, which is a big move from its current home on one of the FX apps. Fucking crazy, right? Below is photo of the homepage interface that will be broken up into 5 major categories: Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic.

Bottom line is that a SPECTACULAR as everything we’ve seen from The MCU so far, I think thes type of annoucements as well as Kevin Fiege confirming that though it’s great to have the X-Men back home, it would be a mistake to rush them onto the MCU. Fiege explained that a 5 years plan is in place for the films AFTER Endgame. Let the good times rolll! EXCELSIOR!

As always, thanks for reading!

-Paul

What I Want to See: The Women Of The MCU

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I finally saw Ant-Man and The Wasp yesterday, and I realized something, Hope Van Dyne is my favorite female character in the MCU. Realizing that made me reflect on the role of women in the MCU.

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It’s been pretty well discussed among critics and fans that for a while the MCU had a female problem.  Despite Black Widow having been introduced in the third (of 20 so far) MCU films, she took a long time to gain prominence in screen time, or plot relevance (I’m not sure we’ve even seen her have more screen time or relevance to the story, than anyone but Hawkeye).  Fans were asking for a Black Widow film, and Marvel Studios’ response was something along the lines of “when it’s right we’ll do it”. which at the time probably felt like a cop-out, but they were having the same complaints made about having a non-white main character and they were giving the same response. At the time, it really felt like the MCU had a diversity problem, but in fairness they tried to address the problem. They quickly began to introduce characters like Sam Wilson as the Falcon, Rhodey to be War Machine/Iron Patriot started to have a larger role and more screen time, they added Scarlett Witch to the team, for example. Many argued this was a half measure, they were all secondary characters and not a solution to the problem. They were definitely steps in the right direction and they filled in some gaps. It was very clear that women and non-white males needed to be the titles characters of their own movies.

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Black Widow’s 1st Appearance In The MCU: Iron Man 2

The MCU started using crossovers and the team films to be able to add new characters, layer their universe, and make it more three dimensional.  In Civil War, we were introduced to the MCU version of Spider-Man and finally Black Panther. Pretty quickly, it was clear that both would be getting their own films, but the MCU as a single cohesive piece was more important, so they tend not to rush into things and it payed off.

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Shuri stole the show in Black Panther.

Spider-Man: Homecoming was a big success, but Black Panther was a cultural phenomenon. Black Panther showed us that the MCU could handle a film with a non-white main character, a majority non-white cast, and come out with a critical and box office smash.  Black Panther not only stood on its own two feet, but it absolutely crushed the competition. The two most prominent white characters are played by Andy Serkis and Martin Freeman. Both are well established actors, but they’re certainly not mega-stars like Tom Cruise or Matt Damon.

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The second crucial thing Black Panther did, was almost double the MCU’s roster current of important, strong female characters.  Prior to this what did we have?  Scarlett Witch, is a decent character, but I personally don’t think she’s nearly as fleshed out as she could be.  Black Widow, tends to be used more in her relationship with which ever male hero needs her (i.e. in Winter Soldier with Cap, or in Age of Ultron with Bruce/Hulk).  Pepper?  I think we’re all honestly surprised when Pepper pops up for a cameo anymore, but really she isn’t much more fleshed out than Friday.  Jane Foster, might have been a good addition, except it seems that Natalie Portmant doesnt have much interest in playing Jane Foster anymore. So that’s not entirely the fault of the MCU.  The only two pre-Black Panther characters that seemed to be totally realized and fleshed out female characters were Gamora and Hope Van Dyne. In Ant-Man, Hope is the most capable character, the main character arc belongs to Scott Lang.

7841C1EC-837C-4572-95B8-B2F6AB8B6C5F         In Black Panther, we got three really great female characters in; Shuri (who is strong willed, intelligent, competitive, funny); Nakia who almost forces T’Challa to play the ‘fawning love-interest’ character due to her commitment to bettering Africa and the world; and Okoye who is one of the fiercest normal humans in the MCU.  Would you want to fight Okoye?  Do you think you could outsmart Shuri on literally anything?  Do you have more compassion for any group of people than Nakia does?  They’re all incredible, and while they have their ‘defining’ attributes, they’re not only those things.  Shuri is funny, and brave.  Nakia is in love with T’Challa, but refuses to let that be her guiding principal. Okoye, despite being a total bad-ass is also a loving girlfriend/wife (they don’t really say) who also stands up to her love when he is on the wrong side.

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Black Panther pushed us further toward the MCU ‘sweet spot. Now we have Ant-Man and The Wasp and it’s the first time in the MCU that a woman is one of the title characters.  The Wasp does not disappoint.  She’s the most bad-ass fighter in the film, she totally shows up Ant-Man and even the pseudo-villain Ghost. She’s a dedicated, intelligent woman trying to be reunited her mother.

16E15BD3-B591-433C-B06D-F73F450B36E324F37A45-717D-4396-97BA-B180D2B8C407Something Hope/Wasp and the women of Black Panther manage to do, is balance the characters between being what we want in super-heroes while not removing their femininity.  They also don’t play on any female stereotypes or tropes. We don’t see any of the female characters being played as ’emotionally erratic,’ while also not playing them off as unfeeling.  It’s a hard balance that Hollywood in general has difficulty was and the MCU has done pretty well avoiding those pitfalls. Which is really impressive considering that so far, all the directors in the MCU has been mad.

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So what do I want to see when it comes to females in the MCU? That leads us to Captain Marvel.  For Captain Marvel, we’re going to get our first female (solo) title character.  We’re also going to get our first female director (co-director, but to be fair, Anna Boden has directed all of her films with her husband Ryan Fleck).  I really want Captain Marvel to be great.  I want it to be as great as Black Panther and a game changer in the same way Black Panther was. I want Captain Marvel to be an amazing character with depth, but also a total bad-ass.  The DCEU had their only smash success to date with Wonder Woman because it’s a genuinely good film. I hope Captain Marvel is at least as good (perhaps with a better villain). Because Captain Marvel will not have the momentum of being the first like Wonder Woman was, but it does need to be successful.  One of the major takeaways from Black Panther and Wonder Woman was that people respond to diversity in their entertainment. However, if a movie like Captain Marvel fails, Hollywood probably won’t learn the right lesson from it.  They won’t say “oh Captain Marvel sucked, let’s try a Black Widow film instead!”, they’re more likely to say “oh maybe Wonder Woman was an anomaly and the audiences don’t really want female lead superhero movies.”  It’s bullshit logic, but as I’ve written before Hollywood almost always learns the wrong lessons.

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If Captain Marvel has some great action set pieces and the character is as well developed and well acted as Hope Van Dyne, Okoye, Nakia, Shuri, and Gamora, I think they’ll have a hit on their hands. If that happens Hollywood will do more to replicate it.  The MCU has done a great job creating this universe and I’m confident that Captain Marvel will not be an exception to that rule. I know I’m really excited.

D9297F0E-0085-4D54-9786-6A3A8D4C8636Because, honestly?  I love watching great women characters, especially when they kick ass.  That’s so much more interesting to me than the damsel in distress. I don’t know maybe I’m not ‘alpha’ enough, but something I find attractive (not just on a romantic/sexual level, but attractive in a friend, or in my wife, or when I’m proud of my sister ) is characters/people who have passion. It’s what we admire about male characters right?  You love that Tony Stark is pursuing (albeit awfully) the betterment of human kind through science, or that Captain America is passionate about the ideals of freedom and what America is supposed to be.  Why wouldn’t we look for the same in our female characters? I never understood that.

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So, what I want to see, is an excellent Captain Marvel movie, and if there is a love interest, I hope it’s not shoe-horned in.  After that, I hope that Captain Marvel opens us up to more female lead films in the MCU.  I’m patient, I know it won’t be overnight, but with a few more hits in Phase Four, and then they’ll be on a roll.

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Written by Michael Cole

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!!! Check Out All AWESOME 15 EW Covers Right Here…

Oh, man April 27th can’t get here fast enough…

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So much to love here… Just, as fans that fact that we’re getting this movie is mind blowing. I think Iron Man’s new armor looks very cool. EW is actually a great magazine for this kind of stuff. Very geek friendly. I get a lot of stuff from them. I know they have a whole exclusive article on the movie to go along with these covers, so it’s probably worth checking out. You can’t EW on iTunes through the App Store or anywhere magazines are sold.