There’s a big universe out there for James Gunn et al to explore after Marvel is done with its super team.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is still weeks away from release, but Marvel Studios is already looking past that and planning on who and what will be flying around in space past 2020. In fact, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige seems to already have some plans in mind. Or, at least, some people.
“I think James [Gunn] in particular has an amazing connection with these characters and with this cosmic world,” Feige told reporters about the future of the Guardians director with Marvel. “So he, I think, could easily oversee additional stories beyond Vol. 3.” Gunn, for his part, has said that Vol. 3 “will conclude the story of this iteration of the Guardians of the Galaxy.” So, just which other Marvel characters might pop up in future Marvel/Gunn cosmic stories?
While the majority of Marvel’s stories take place on Earth — and, indeed, in New York City — there’s a vast library of interstellar characters and concepts to pull from, even including the fact that many of the best Marvel comics characters from space are tied up with other studios already. (The Starjammers, a group of space pirates, belong to the X-Men mythology; Galactus and the Silver Surfer, meanwhile, are Fantastic Four-related, and therefore all of them belong to Fox.) Here are just five possibilities of characters that would be good choices to draw from:
Movie audiences have already seen the Nova Corps onscreen in the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie; they’re the intergalactic cops led by Glenn Close. In comic book mythology, teenager Rich Ryder ends up getting inducted into the organization and has to juggle both high school and keeping the peace with cosmic powers — like Spider-Man but with more power and far more responsibility. Decades later, a new Nova, Sam Alexander, ends up taking on the mantle after discovering that his absent dad was a member of the Nova Corps for years. Either one offers the potential for a potent mix of soap opera and space superheroics.
There have been multiple versions of the Quasar character throughout the decades — the most long-lived being Wendell Vaughan, a mild-mannered SHIELD agent who accidentally becomes the protector of the universe after using mystical devices called Quantum Bands — but the obvious one Marvel should bring to the big screen is Phyla-Vell, the daughter of Marvel’s first Captain Marvel, and a woman with a chip on her shoulder about living up to the legacy of a great hero. As if the promise of more stories dealing with a character’s daddy issues isn’t enough, there’s also the fact that Phyla-Vell is a lesbian, helping Marvel with its movie diversity deficiency.
The team that assembled after the (temporary) end of the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Annihilators were a band of reluctant warriors from different alien races bound by the desire to do good and little else; unlike the Guardians, however, this group is far more powerful, and only comes together when something of appropriate scale demands it. Think of them as the outer-space Avengers, only dealing with extinction-level events instead of Ultron or in-fighting about whether or not to sign registration acts.
As the name might suggest, the Star Brand is less a person than an object. Specifically, it’s a mysterious mark that grants its possessor ultimate power, although they might not realize it at the time. The Star Brand’s power is limited only by the imagination of the person wearing it, so that they can literally do whatever they can think of — as long as they believe that they can do it. Forget Doctor Strange; this is the Marvel property that offers potential for existential, genre-breaking stories… as long as Marvel believes that it can make them, of course.
The Enigma Force
The name is a misnomer; the group currently called the Enigma Force is the current incarnation of the concept that started as Marvel’s Micronauts series, retitled when Marvel lost the rights to that particular toy brand. The basic status quo remains under Marvel control, however, offering the possibility to revisit the sub-atomic dimension — with a potential Ant-Man tie-in, if he chooses to shrink that much — where a galactic epic unfolds that plays like Star Wars meets Dune, with a side order of generic modification and toyetic designs, taking place on a collection of planets that looks like a DNA strand.