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The Dan Cave: 5 Movies Marvel Should Have Made Before GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

Welcome back to The Dan Cave, everyone! You look great today. Is that a new sweater?

Much like you, I have the sweet strains of Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling” permanently burned into my brain after seeing James Gunn’s cosmic action-comedy Guardians of the Galaxy. While I really, really loved the film and speaking to the cast all about it, I couldn’t help but find myself wondering how Marvel wound up taking such a little-known comic book franchise to the big screen before so many others in their canon. Another Comic-Con came and went without any mention of a major superhero film lead by a woman, a person of color, or, hell, one that isn’t a sequel. This week, Kevin Feige made waves with his unfortunately worded interview with Comic Book Resources about how he “hopes” that Marvel will be able to make a female-led superhero film:

“I think it comes down to timing, which is what I’ve sort of always said, and it comes down to us being able to tell the right story. I very much believe in doing it. I very much believe that it’s unfair to say, ‘People don’t want to see movies with female heroes,’ then list five movies that were not very good, therefore, people didn’t go to the movies because they weren’t good movies, versus [because] they were female leads. And they don’t mention ‘Hunger Games,’ ‘Frozen,’ ‘Divergent.’ You can go back to ‘Kill Bill’ or ‘Aliens.’ These are all female-led movies. It can certainly be done. I hope we do it sooner rather than later.”

Sounds all well and good, right? There’s always a but though:

“But we find ourselves in the very strange position of managing more franchises than most people have — which is a very, very good thing and we don’t take for granted, but is a challenging thing. You may notice from those release dates, we have three for 2017. And that’s because just the timing worked on what was sort of gearing up. But it does mean you have to put one franchise on hold for three or four years in order to introduce a new one? I don’t know. Those are the kinds of chess matches we’re playing right now.”

Previously, Marvel had been celebrated for taking a risk on a lesser-known franchise like Guardians of the Galaxy:

Now it’s time to put the House of Ideas under the microscope and wonder why they haven’t gone further. So, today we’re going to answer the question of which should Marvel have made before Guardians of the Galaxy?

Which Marvel superhero do you think deserves their own film? Do you think these films would have worked in a pre-Guardians era? Let me know in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter.

Want even more The Dan Cave? Well, that’s kind of you to say. Be sure to check out last week’s episode in which we try to answer the age-old question of “Is Legendary creating a shared universe for its monster movies?”

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74 comments

  • 1. Black Panther!! Marvel please make Black Panther with Michael Jamal White!!!!  This movie needs to be made and White is even more perfect for the role than Ryan Reynolds is for Deadpool!!!  

    2. Please get to the Black Widow movie we’ve been waiting so long for this!!  

    3. Captain Marvel, the Carol Danvers edition. She is simply great and could kick some serious cosmic or domestic ass! And the best part, it would pave the way for… 

    4. Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khanar Style. What better character to improve diversity.  She’s female, museum and a teenager!  It would be cool to have a young hero with such a unique perspective in the marvel cinematic universe!

  • More Black Panther than all the others mentioned. a Feature film has been teased for y e a r s. Character was an Avenger, his father had early ties to Captain America and yes the Vibranium Mound connection all of which would be a great introduction at some point.

  • Marvel don’t listen to this weenie geenie. Don’t make Comic Book movies to promote social issues – or political correct muckety muck. Make comic book movies because they are fun. Focus on doing movies with cool characters in great stories no matter what their skin color or their genitals are. 

  • easy peasy some other rhyming bullshit.
    when i posted a similar article on mtv, i almost got eaten alive by marvel fans. guys – psa – when you say characters like black widow & captain marvel can’t carry a film by themselves, that’s sexist. (full stop.)
    dan casey is a #feminist. i love this show.

  • What we needed (before) Guardians of the Galaxy is a Nova film (introducing Xandar and the Elite Nova Corps) as well as an Adam Warlock film introducing his Soul Gem (one of the stones in the Infinity Gauntlet obviously). I already Tweeted James Gunn about it…don’t ask.

    Since it is obvious Marvel won’t get to either of these films before 2017 Guardians of the Galaxy can only be classified as GOOD, not great. It was a movie with so much potential but little vision and almost no scope. Sure it was an origin movie, but you can tease a lot of these ideas in the exposition instead of black light/ejaculation jokes by “Star Lord.”

    **SPOILERS**
    Guardians left so much great stuff on the floor (where is Starhawk & ROM the Spaceknight) but yet we get HtD. Sheesh!

    Marvel (via Disney) does not fill me with much confidence as a true “hard-Core” nerd. This will be a Game of Thrones (TV v. Books) argument all over again.

  • I’d love to see Idris Elba as Black Panther.
    Also, a less Cage-filled Ghost Rider (I know it’s another white male role, but I actually enjoyed the first movie, somewhat, and would like to see him in the MCU)

  • Jesus Christ, as if we all haven’t heard this argument a MILLION times in the past…what, three years? I’ve even seen articles/video with this same exact setup and even most of the same heroes. It’s not that I don’t agree, Dan, but Marvel’s doing so amazingly right now that telling them what to do just seems…well, stupid. I clicked expecting to see something new, but besides the Thunderbolts, the entire list is unoriginal.
    That said plz gimme Black Panther and Ms. Marvel movies soon thx. Black Panther for third Avengers with cameo/nod in Ultron I’m calling it. Also like to see Thunderbolts after third Avengers, but before? Nah.

  • Before the current slate of MCU movies I’m not sure I heard anyone tout Black Widow as a compelling character for story reasons.  So I feel like the major reason she’s getting so much support as a character is because of Scarlett Johanson playing her.

  • She-Hulk, most definitely YES!!  I can’t believe this hasn’t already happened, or at least hinted at with some tall female attorney in some random courtroom scene.

    Someone else mentioned Spider-Woman, which I also fully support.  It would be a shame if that character belonged to Sony, because the last I knew, part of Jessica Drew’s recent past was as an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and she was a strong ally of Captain America, no?

  • Also, I want to see She-Hulk tied into these Netflix series. Which is how I thought they should handle Dr.Strange too, but we’ll see where they go with that.

  • I am tired of hearing people complain about “why not a female/racially diverse lead”  You are ignoring the fact that marvel is building up to Avengers 3, where the main bad guy is Thanos with the infinity gauntlet.  This movie introduced both Thanos and the Infinity gauntlet, as well as the kree (opening up the possibility of Captain Marvel).  They are painstakingly and chronologically building up to what I can only hope is Joss Whedon’s masterpiece.

    Also, there was the report of Nathon Fillion turning down the roll of Howard the duck to play a bigger part in the marvel universe, so we know they are going to introduce more original characters.

    Plus, as someone who suffered through the black panther animated series a couple of years ago, I plan on skipping that movie when it comes out.

    • It’s not simply a matter of having a diverse lead. Story should be paramount, first and foremost. That being said, you could easily have slotted in a Captain Marvel movie or Black Widow film in, say, Thor 2’s slot without sacrificing the narrative structure of their overarching Thanos plot.

  • I’d personally like to see a Black Widow/Hawkeye espionage action thriller that folds in some of Christopher Priest’s  run on Black Panther. Though if Will Smith plays T’challa I’d be very unhappy. Also, can I please get some MODOK?

  • As a non comic reader (the vast majority of Marvel’s target audience), while your logic seems legitimate, I would have waited for the dvd on any of the movies you listed.  I’m sure they did focus groups and all the research necessary when picking the next movie to be made.  They probably even took into consideration all the things you listed.

  • Dan

    I think it’s far too easy for everyone (yourself included) to sit back and play ‘arm-chair quarterback’ in the wake of Marvel’s (much deserved) record breaking weekend. Let’s not forget that on paper, GOTG would not  have added up on any major studios balance sheet. The difference here — Kevin Feige! He’s batting 1000 right now, and I won’t presume to tell him what’s best for Marvel, nor what film he should put out and in what order. Until he proves me wrong, I’m content to sit back and be entertained.

    • Agreed, Kevin. I have greatly enjoyed the MCU under Feige’s stewardship and am overjoyed at how well GOTG did. Rather, it just seemed weird to me in hindsight (which is 20-20) that we got a GOTG film before some of these other titles.

      • I believe Carol Danvers- Captian Marvel should have been introduced before the GotG and Black Panther before Avengers 2 but the others don’t seem as pressing to when they could be made.

  • Marvel shouldn’t make a Black Panther movie because he’s black, and to earn “diversity points”, they need to make a Black Panther movie because he is one of the smartest, most badass Avengers in Marvel, and has a skills set that rivals Batman. I hate it when people reduce him to just being the black superhero. He’s alot more than that. 

    • Exactly. It’s easy to get reductive in this kind of situation. Black Panther has long been one of my favorite Avengers period, race notwithstanding. They shouldn’t make the movie because he’s black. They should make the movie because he’s Black Panther, a seminal part of the Marvel Universe.

  • Fuck off Dan, the submariner has a much longer standing with marvel than most of the characters you are pitching for.  On top of that Carol Danvers is no Captain Marvel don’t get me wrong she has inherited the title but she is no Mar-Vell.

  • I’m not sure if they could have pulled off any of these movies successfully before GotG, but in either case I’m glad they didn’t because had they made any of those movies and they flopped (like ant-man might… but hopefully won’t) then they would have said “look we were right, it can’t be done” and then it’d be another decade or two before anyone tried again. Now that GotG was such a success then when a Marvel movie outside of “the big three” is made its success will be attributed (almost) entirely to whether or not the movie sucked, and not to <insert any of the reasons they’ve given in the past to why a female/black/otherwise-not-white-male character could not be the lead>. Now that GotG has paved the way I hope they make all 5 of the movies you mentioned, and then some.

    • Thanks for the thoughtful analysis, TJ. I agree that now Marvel will have an excellent case study to make pretty much whatever they want. It was more that I found myself surprised seeing a Guardians film before some of the ones I mentioned.

  • Not sure if it should have come before Guardians, but a Hawkeye movie or show in the vein of Matt Fraction’s series would be most welcome by me. A not-so-super hero living in Williamsburg doing odd jobs in his downtime? Hell yes. 

  • I honestly had to pause to get the laughs out when I heard Sub-Mariner.
    Anyway, this is the problem with Marvel/Disney owning all the franchises. Disney does not have the resources to do all the films we’d want to see. Do you think Marvel would’ve ever done a GoTG or even a Thor if they still owned X-Men cinematic rights? Of course, the alternative has so far been no possible crossovers between Marvel franchises. Yet perhaps if Marvel, instead of saying make a movie every x years or lose your rights, fostered more of collaborative partnership with Fox and Sony where maybe we could see FF or Spider-man join the Avengers plotlines, then the MCU could finally grow into its potential rather than simply be this linear line of stories.

  • Dude, you made yourself look like such an ass. 1. Why would they make a thunderbolts movie while we’re heading into Age of Ultron and then Infinity Gauntlet, Thunderbolts would have to be a threat in and of itself. There’s too much going on to make Thunderbolts pull focus from the other villinous things going on. Besides, director of the Guardians film said that he wants Thunderbolts to be his next project focus and that Guardians was his jumping off point into new titles. Secondly, when you said “Marvel, if you are worried about casting a black guy for the lead” Umm, hello? They made Nick Fury black, a decision that altered the comic book version of Fury. They also have DeathLok, Falon, and other black heroes being utilized, some that we’re even black in the first place. So obviously you don’t have to give Marvel a speech about diversity casting dipshit.

    • Neal, first of all, thank you for watching.
      Thunderbolts is, perhaps, the only film I listed that might mess up their Infinity Gauntlet plans. But, laying the groundwork now for post IG-era Marvel movies wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, especially if they decide to build towards Siege or something in the wake of IG.
      Nick Fury, while great, isn’t exactly a lead in any of these films. Nor is Falcon or Deathlok. They are supporting characters. Great supporting characters, but supporting nonetheless. Now that Falcon has become Captain America in the comics or the potential to weave in a longstanding Avenger like Black Panther into the MCU would be a very smart move, IMO.

    • Woa, step back from the rage nuke. Your Nick Fury argument is just wrong as the Ultimates comics came out way before Sam Jackson’s cameo in Iron Man. In the Ultimates they modeled their Nick Fury to look exactly like Sam Jackson. So when Favreau wanted to tease the Avengers at the end of Iron Man, Sam was his choice and Sam jumped at the chance.  Since then, in the ‘normal’ universe of Marvel comics, White Nick fury has stepped down and been replaced by his son, who happens to be again modeled after Sam Jackson. So obviously he can give whatever diversity casting speech he wishes. We have yet to have a minority lead. The Avengers, unless Warmachine and Falcon get to play around this time, is all whitebread. A Black Panther movie needs to happen.

  • Ugh.

    When the main premise is “more diversity”, then mentioning a bunch of minor and/or supporting characters into your fantasy Marvel movies (ignoring that Blade and Elektra are among the Marvel movies already made, that they’re shoehorning a black character into the upcoming Fantastic Four movie, and that a black character serves as the cornerstone to just about every film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe) you lose me pretty quickly.

    Black Panther, sure. And why no mention of Luke Cage? But based on their significance in Marvel’s history, I would think that Dr. Strange and Namor would merit their own movies before either of them, although that doesn’t really gel with the whole “diversity” thing (which is a complete fabrication of white liberal guilt to begin with.)

    • Yes, Blade and Elektra are both movies that exist, but I find it hard to believe that Marvel would consider those canon for the current slate of MCU films. 
      Dr. Strange and Luke Cage are both getting their dues on the big screen and Netflix respectively. Namor’s rights are tied up at Universal, so that won’t happen anytime soon.
      While seeing a diverse cast of characters on the big screen would be great, all of these characters I mentioned would hold their own as solid films first and foremost, race and gender notwithstanding.

    • Luke Cage is getting his own TV series on Netflix, and we already have Falcon, Fury & Rhodey, so I don’t know why people use “diversity” as a reason for BP. They should give Black Panther his own movie because he is awesome, not just because he is a black guy.

  • Your list was: Street level hero, street level hero, street level hero, street level hero, Captain Marvel. With Thanos being the big bad that they are building up to, how does it benefit them to write characters that would be squashed by said big bad? Besides, its not like the street level heroes don’t get enough of the spotlight in the comics. Let the cosmic characters get a piece of the pie for just this once. 

    • I have no beef with the cosmic characters, Russ. But, you could have easily swapped out something like Thor 2 for a Black Widow or Captain Marvel film and not damaged the overall arc of events building to Thanos.

  • Lady Sif needs a spin off from Thor.  Blade needs a reboot that shows us that he can kick a** and vampires don’t sparkle.  And as a darkhorse choice, I think Alpha Flight could be made into an incredible property for Marvel.

  • Ms. Marvel, or (and I know she’s an X-Men character, so it’s even more unlikely, but..) Psylocke. She just has a very weird and crazy backstory, plus I’d love to see her and Spiral beat the hell out of each other.

  • People forget that the movie isn’t just the character.  Yes, Scarjo as Black Widow is kind of cool.  But Black Widow has never had any cornerstone stories told about her.  Black Widow has no archenemy.  Black Widow has basically always been a supporting character in another person’s book or part of a team in a team book.  Black Widow doesn’t represent anything on a fundamental level.
    What does that mean?
    That means that it’s harder to come up with a Black Widow movie than it should have been to come up with an Elektra movie for example.  Elektra had, at least, the Elektra: Assassin miniseries to draw from as source material.  The same is true for almost every other Marvel heroine.  What is the seminal Carol Danvers story?  Or the seminal Jennifer Walters story?
    I imagine Marvel would love to be able to produce a movie featuring one of their heroines, if for nothing else than to get folks to simmer down about this issue.  But in order for there to be a movie and for it not to be ‘Catwoman,’ there has to be something there to write about.

  • this video is one of the whiniest this i have every seen. we get a great movie like gotg and you complain that we didn’t get more diverse characters first? as a black man, i would like to see a black panther movie soon but i trust marvel to deliver it at the right time. the most important thing should be the quality of the movie, not what demographic it represents. everyone keeps complaining “give us a ms. marvel movie now” but which would you rather have? a ms. marvel movie now before it’s ready or one 2/3 years from no that is as great as gotg?

    • Obviously, I don’t want Marvel to put out anything that’s undercooked or underdeveloped. Rather, it just seems weird in hindsight that we saw a film like Guardians of the Galaxy, which I loved, well before a film like Black Panther or Captain Marvel. 

      • No actually it isn’t. They needed to expand the MCU beyond Earth and GotG was the way to go. The reason? One word. Thanos. Thanos only makes sense as a character in the MCU if the audience is given an understanding of what he is. His cameo in The Avengers was cool, if you knew who he was, but to everyone else(the vast majority of the audience) he was just “who the fuck is the purple guy?” Thanos is the overarching character in the MCU yet most of the audience didn’t know anything about him. They weren’t going to find it out in a Black Panther movie or even a Carol Danvers Ms./Captain Marvel one. GotG coming before them makes sense and honestly why whine anyways as they’ll come eventually.