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15 Marvel Plots The M.C.U. Should Avoid At All Costs

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15 Marvel Plots The M.C.U. Should Avoid At All Costs

Within the past ten years, Marvel Studios has become a giant in the filmmaking industry. Releasing two to three features a year, they have continually managed to break box office records. With the success of their latest release, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and the entire stock of films set to release up until 2020, it’s difficult to see Marvel’s cinematic reign ending anytime soon.

That is, until you start thinking about the future of Marvel’s storylines post-Infinity War. The president of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, has not said much about Phase 4, but it’s been revealed that there are plans and that we should look forward to them. However, if the Infinity War movies are supposed to be the culmination of everything Marvel has been building toward, how are they supposed to top it once everything is said and done?

Marvel Comics, while known for creating some of the greatest comic book heroes and storylines of our time, has been known to turn out a rotten egg every now again. Some would even say this happens more often than not, especially in recent comic book history with Marvel currently producing a never-ending assault of “universe altering” events that leave zero impact on their characters because they’re immediately retconned by another “universe altering” event just a month later. How long will it be before Marvel Studios runs out of ideas and starts following in the footsteps of its comic book predecessor? Here are 15 Marvel Plot Lines that the Marvel Cinematic Universe should avoid at all costs if Marvel Studios wishes to keep its audiences’ loyalty and interest.

15. Civil War II

What’s It About?

The Marvel Universe is split when Inhuman precog, Ulysses Cain, is discovered to be the source of crucial information in a recent victory against a Celestial Destructor. Captain Marvel makes the decision that Cain should continue to be used in order to preemptively tackle disasters before they happen. Iron Man stands against the idea, suggesting that Cain’s visions are anything but concrete evidence of the future. Sides are taken as a question of morality comes into play. Is it right to accuse and detain another being for a crime someone has yet to commit if there’s a chance that doing so would save lives?

Why It Wouldn’t Work

The main issue here is that the story relies on a trope whose ramifications and moral dilemmas have been explored quite thoroughly by the film Minority Report starring Tom Cruise. It’s hard to imagine that adding superhero fights would add much more to the concept of being held guilty before committing a crime, but when has Marvel Studios ever gone beyond the surface of an issue instead of using said issue to set up an action-packed fight between super powered beings? Cain’s role in the film would probably be reduced to being quite similar to Bucky’s role in the first Civil War, with both sides fighting for his custody. Cain’s visions would also probably be abused to set up plot points for future Marvel films. Plus, Tony’s decision to not use Cain’s abilities goes completely against his character in the M.C.U. as he has been obsessed with preemptive action since the events of The Avengers.

14. Secret Invasion

What’s It About?

The Skrull, a shape-shifting race of aliens, launches a full-scale invasion on Earth by secretly replacing Earth’s Mightiest Heroes one by one. Upon discovery of the plot, when recently deceased Electra’s corpse reverts into the corpse of a Skrull, Marvel’s heroes are thrown into paranoia and disarray. Who amongst them has been replaced? It’s hero against hero in this tale of espionage and body snatching, but with every minute Marvel’s heroes struggle to discover the truth, the Skrulls get closer and closer to complete and total domination over Earth.

Why It Wouldn’t Work

Our favorite concept, retroactive continuity or retcon for short, sits at the center of why Secret Invasion would not work as a film. Which beloved character’s backstory will Marvel have to ax in order to bring this plot line to light? Is Marvel really willing to undo an entire character’s arc for the cheap thrill of saying, “They were an alien the whole time”? While it is true that Skrulls require their hosts to be alive to maintain replication, what we are looking at here is a Mad Eye Moody (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) scenario, where the character in question has already been switched upon their initial introduction making all of their actions and interactions met with dual purpose. Without this intent being present in previous films, it makes it incredibly difficult for the ends to justify the means. In other words, we’ve committed ourselves to these characters, and for Marvel to make us lose one of them in such a way would hurt worse than thinking it’s a good idea to level up Aerith in Final Fantasy VII.

13. Fear Itself

What’s It About?

Back in World War II, the Red Skull performed a ritual that causes the Hammer of Skadi, an Asgardian relic, to fall to Earth where it lands in Antarctica, his purpose being to use the hammer to summon an Asgardian demon known as the Serpent, the self-proclaimed True All-Father of Asgard. Unable to lift the hammer, Red Skull seals it away so that no one else may have its power. Decades later, the hammer is found by Baron Zemo and Red Skull’s daughter, Sin. Sin is able to lift the hammer and becomes Skadi, Herald of the Serpent. She summons the Serpent from Odin’s underwater prison causing seven divine Asgardian hammers to fall to Earth. These hammers, containing the souls of the Serpent’s seven generals known as the Worthy, are discovered by the Juggernaut, Hulk, Titania, Attuma, Grey Gargoyle, the Thing, and the Absorbing Man transforming them into the Worthy and sending them on rampages across Earth. With Odin wishing to dispose of Earth to prevent the Serpent and his servants from reaching Asgard, it is up to Thor and the rest of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to stop the Serpent before it’s too late.

Why It Wouldn’t Work

The main issue here is that the plot of this story takes too much exposition. Fear Itself is a worldwide event with the Worthy’s hammers falling in seven different strategic places on Earth. Somehow, seven candidates would have to miraculously be at the right places at the right times in order to obtain their hammers. To give each character proper motivation for their whereabouts when the hammers fall, it would take copious amounts of explanation, otherwise, the actual act of being tricked into becoming servants of the Serpent would feel stilted. Speaking of the Serpent, his presence in the film would require an Odin-worthy prologue to bring those not familiar with the character up to speed. Rhythm and pacing are some of the most important components to storytelling, and I cannot help but think that half of this film would be dragged down by setting up the main action. Honestly, Marvel would have to strip this story down to its bare essentials to fit it into one film, and if we’ve learned anything from X-Men Apocalypse, it’s that a story full of plot devices and devoid of character doesn’t make a good movie.

12. World War Hulk

What’s It About?

World War Hulk, in its simplest format, is a revenge story — a sequel to the celebrated Planet Hulk, in which the Hulk has returned to Earth from his banishment on Sakaar in search of the Illuminati whom he wishes to seek revenge on. In Planet Hulk, it was the Illuminati, consisting of Tony Stark, Doctor Strange, Black Bolt, Professor Xavier, Mr. Fantastic, and Namor, who banished Hulk in the first place. The story consists of Hulk, with the aid of the Warbound — Amadeus Cho, Hercules, Namora, and Angel — defeating and collecting each member of the Illuminati and forcing them to compete in gladiatorial combat at Madison Square Garden much like the Hulk was forced to on Sakaar.

Why It Wouldn’t Work

The answer to why this story wouldn’t work in the M.C.U. is simple. The ending of Age of Ultron suggests that Hulk leaves Earth of his own free will. It has yet to be revealed how he ends up on Sakaar in Thor: Ragnarok, but we do know one thing: Hulk was not banished from Earth. The fact that Marvel chose to have Hulk’s exclusion from the world be self-imposed completely circumvents this plot from ever being a possibility. If Hulk was abducted by the Sakaarans and he’s pissed no one was around to rescue him, I guess that could work, but that’s weak sauce compared to wanting revenge on his closest friends for exiling him from his home planet. It’s sad to say, but due to prematurely sending Hulk into space, World War Hulk will never be a viable story for the M.C.U.

11. Spider-Man: Sins Past

What’s It About?

When Peter receives a letter in the mail from Gwen Stacy, postmarked several years after her death, it throws Peter into mental turmoil. Plagued with the question of whether his first true love is still alive, Peter visits Gwen’s grave for solace and meditation. Upon arrival, he is attacked by two mysterious assailants. Peter escapes, but not long after, is met with death threats in the mail on Mary Jane’s and Aunt May’s lives. Through investigation, Peter discovers that the threats are actually coming from the twins Gwen secretly birthed in an affair with Peter’s nemesis, Norman Osborn the Green Goblin. Raised by Norman to hate Spider-Man, the twins stop at nothing to avenge their father.

Why It Wouldn’t Work

Simply put, this is one of the most hated story arcs in all of Spider-Man canon. To even think about bringing it into the M.C.U. would sink the Spider-Man franchise in an instant. In the month of June in 1973, The Amazing Spider-Man #121 was released, and the comic book world was never the same. This was the issue in which Gwen Stacy was thrown off the George Washington Bridge by Green Goblin and her neck was snapped when Spider-Man attempted to save her by catching her ankle with webbing as she fell. Never in comic book history, outside of origin stories, had a hero failed so miserably in saving someone that they loved. Gwen’s death was felt strongly throughout the comic book community, and some hailed it as the end of the Silver Age of comics.

What made Gwen Stacy’s death so impactful was that she was an innocent victim caught in the fight between hero and villain. By making Gwen have an affair with Osborn, that innocence is erased, and with it, the symbolism behind Peter’s never-ending guilt for her death. Marvel fans would riot if this film was ever made, and even if they could pull it off, it would not be well-received.

10. Spider-Man: Clone Saga

What’s It About?

After discovering that Peter Parker is Spider-Man, Miles Warren a.k.a. the Jackal, a biochemist who was secretly in love with Gwen Stacy, blames Parker for her death and creates a clone of Parker to kill him. The Jackal kidnaps Spider-Man and pits his clone, who believes he is the real Peter Parker, against him. The events of the story lead to one of the Parkers dying in an explosion while the surviving Spider-Man returns to his life, believing he is the true Peter Parker. A year later, the “other” Spider-Man re-enters Parker’s life. He is not dead after all and has been living under the name, Ben Reilly. He claims he is the true Peter Parker and chaos ensues.

Why It Wouldn’t Work

Plagued with convoluted story arcs and easily misinterpreted plot points, Spider-Man: Clone Saga did not fare well when it was released. The severely drawn out arc lasted two years and was ultimately retconned due to heavy pushback from Spidey fans. Essentially, they reacted far too negatively to spending a year with the wrong Spider-Man for the plot point to stick. Can you imagine how fans would react to the idea spending an entire film with Spidey only to find out they’ve been invested in a clone?

In order to pull this story off, Marvel would need to create a Clone Saga Trilogy. The first film would center on the conflict between Parker and the Jackal. It would introduce the clone Parker, and much like the comics, the events of the film would lead to one of the Parkers dying off with the other returning to normal life. The second film would be an independent Spider-Man story, and at the end, would introduce Ben Reilly throwing Parker’s identity into suspect. The final film would be the two facing Carrion, a clone of the Jackal, with the events of the film, rather anti-climatically, revealing that everything is okay, and we had the real Parker with us the whole time. It’s all very confusing, and ultimately, was a huge waste of time for Marvel Comics. I don’t see the studios wishing to invest large sums of time or money into something the fans ultimately rejected in the end.

9. Original Sin

What’s It About?

When Uatu the Watcher is assassinated, Marvel’s heroes are thrown into an investigation to discover who would commit such a heinous act of villainy. The motive is discovered to be to obtain the eyes of Uatu which contain the all-seeing power of the formerly living Watcher. When one of the eyes is discovered to be in the possession of the Orb, the villain activates Uatu’s eye, unleashing a wave of energy revealing the darkest secrets of anyone who is hit by it.

Why It Wouldn’t Work

A retcon in its worst fashion, the Original Sins plot was used to add unneeded backstory to Marvel’s already rich stock of heroes. The attempt here was to give their characters new flaws and failures that could be used to develop new stories in the future. While flawed characters are interesting, there is a point where an excess of them makes a character just unlikable — that is the danger of bringing a plot like this to light in the M.C.U.; not to mention, it would be entirely flashback driven. It would feel like watching some of the worst episodes of Lost. Shoehorning unnecessary backstory, especially backstory that discredits our favorite characters into an ultimately weak plot would cause a severe dip in the Marvel Studios fan base.

8. AXIS

What’s It About?

Red Skull, in the possession of Professor Xavier’s brain, uses it to the spread hatred across the world. Marvel’s heroes and villains unite in an effort to overcome the telepathic attack and defeat Skull through the use of an inversion spell cast by Scarlet Witch and Doctor Strange meant to bring Xavier’s consciousness to the forefront of Red Skull’s mind. However, the spell affects everyone who was present for the fight. The world is thrown into chaos as heroes become villains and vice versa. It’s up to Steve Rogers and a team of inverted supervillains, called the Astonishing Avengers, to set things right.

Why It Wouldn’t Work

As a comic book storyline, AXIS is actually a lot fun. It’s interesting to see heroes become villains and hilarious to watch villains act heroically. But the M.C.U. has a major problem that cannot be ignored if they wish to bring this story to life. The M.C.U.’s stock of villains, with the exceptions of Loki and Zemo, are just not that interesting. Most of them don’t even survive the films they’re introduced in. It’s going to take Marvel cracking the villains’ code before even considering this concept, because, trust me, no one wants to see Abomination try to be a good guy.

7. Secret Wars

What’s It About?

A cosmic being known as the Beyonder, curious to know whether good or evil is the stronger force, chooses a group of heroes and villains and teleports these characters against their will to Battleworld, a planet created by the Beyonder to be used for staging his contest. The Beyonder informs his captives that if they slay their enemies, they will be greatly rewarded with their greatest desires. The planet, outfitted with alien tech and weaponry, soon becomes the battleground of an all-out war as hero and villain clash, some for the reward and others for survival.

Why It Wouldn’t Work

Secret Wars may be one of Marvel’s greatest hits within the comic community. It introduced new and exciting characters and held many milestone moments for Marvel, including the introduction of Spider-Man’s black suit. The popularity of this story arc is so great that it’s the very the reason Marvel should stay away. The M.C.U. is still far too young to handle a story of this size. With Marvel’s record of creating films that generally receive mixed reviews, exceptions withstanding, a failed version of Secret Wars could quite literally sink the boat. It is yet to be seen if Marvel Studios can handle a story of this caliber, but with the release Avengers: Infinity War on the horizon, we’ll soon have a better idea.

6. Spider-Verse

What’s It About?

Spider-Verse, in a nutshell, is about a group of interdimensional beings, known as the Inheritors, who have initiated a Great Hunt in which they desire to eliminate every version of Spider-Man that has ever existed throughout the Multiverse, thus leading a team of the most popular versions of Spider-Man to work together in order to stop the oncoming threat.

Why It Wouldn’t Work

The long story short here is that this story line is way too complicated to ever work on film. Whenever Peter Parker is anything other than your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, fans tend to freak out. This is not to say that other versions of Spider-Man are not popular. Miguel O’Hara from Spider-Man 2099 might be one of my favorite iterations of the character — and don’t get me started on Spider-Gwen — but the fact is, the general public is not familiar with these alternate versions of the web-crawler and to introduce them could potentially be way more trouble than it’s worth — not to mention that a group of interdimensional beings whose only goal is to kill people that have been bitten by a radioactive spider is kind of ridiculous.

5. Secret Wars: Battleworld

What’s It About?

One of the largest events in Marvel’s history, Battleworld takes its lead from Secret Wars in combining multiple terrains from the Marvel Universe to create a world in which Marvel heroes and villains are caught in conflict with one another. Only this time, the terrains are actually inter-dimensional pieces of reality, consisting of major Marvel events, such as Age of Ultron and full-on universes, such as Ultimate Marvel, colliding into one another in an event called the Incursion.

Why It Wouldn’t Work

Out of all the storylines that I’ve presented on this list for being way too complicated to bring to life, this one takes the cake. We’re talking about alternate versions of characters from across time and space teaming up and fighting against one another. Let’s take a moment to step back and think about this: would you be able to take a movie seriously if two versions of Tony Stark, both played by Robert Downey Jr., teamed up to fight two versions of Thor, both played by Chris Hemsworth? While it kind of works in the comic book world, our suspension of disbelief would snap under the pressure of viewing a film version of Battleworld. The Multi-Verse, unless it’s continued to be executed in the fashion of Doctor Strange, should best be left to the comic books.

4. Marvel vs DC

What’s It About?

When two entities known as the Brothers (cosmic beings representing Marvel and DC) remember the existence of each other, they merge their realities together and pit champions from their respective universes against each other to see which universe would prevail.

Why It Wouldn’t Work

While it would be fun to see the Avengers go toe-to-toe with the Justice League, the reality is there is no way these two competing companies would ever work out a deal to create a singular film. It took almost ten years for Marvel Studios to convince Sony to share the rights of Spider-Man, and Marvel created the character, not to mention that DC’S Extended Universe has yet to create a decent film that has been critically well-received. If DC wanted to share the screen with Marvel, they would have to do some serious work before even considering such a notion.

3. House of M

What’s It About?

Wanda Maximoff, also known as the Scarlet Witch, creates an alternate reality where everyone on Earth is granted their greatest desire. As a result, Wanda’s children are alive, Magneto rules over all, and mutants reign. When a young mutant named Layla Miller, with the power to see through altered realities, begins to wake people up, a resistance movement is formed amongst Marvel’s heroes to shatter Scarlet Witch’s illusion and to return to their own reality.

Why It Wouldn’t Work

The main thing standing in the way of Marvel pulling off House of M is that they don’t own the film rights to any of the X-Men, save Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, through a pretty impressive loophole in their backstories. This means Marvel Studios would have to broker a deal with Fox for a shared universe film with the X-Men Franchise. Is it impossible? No. Of course, the precedent of Marvel and Sony striking a deal to create Spider-Man: Homecoming gives us hope. However, that deal consisted of creating a brand new version of Spider-Man for the M.C.U., re-casting Tom Holland as Parker, and leaving Andrew Garfield in the dust. There is no cohesive way to blend the M.C.U. and the X-Verse without starting the X-Verse completely from scratch, a prospect Fox wouldn’t even consider at this point with the amount of success they’ve had lately, especially with films such as Logan and Deadpool under their belt.

Then there is the fact that the M.C.U.’s Scarlet Witch is not even a mutant or related to Magneto. Thus, her making a world where mutants reign with Magneto as their leader makes no sense. You could perhaps change it so that Scarlet Witch creates a world where everyone is super, but then you run the risk of angering loyal fans who would only see a House of M film to hear Wanda Maximoff utter three simple words: “No More Mutants.”

2. Spider-Man: Symbiote Suit

What’s It About?

Returning to Earth after the first Secret War, Peter Parker decides to keep the black suit he found on Battleworld. Little does Parker know that the suit is actually a parasitic alien called a symbiote that feeds on and amplifies negative energy. As Parker becomes more attached to the suit, his personality begins to shift; he becomes more violent and quick to anger. As Spider-Man, he becomes ruthless, beating criminals to inches from their lives. Upon Parker’s discovery that the suit is alive, he quickly finds a way through sonic vibrations to remove the suit before it’s forever bonded with him. Rejected and angry, the symbiote finds a new host in Eddie Brock, who has is own beef with Parker, in order to exact its revenge on its former host.

Why It Wouldn’t Work

Timing is everything, and it’s still way too soon for Sony or Marvel to take on the symbiote story arc again. While Spider-Man 3 may have been released ten years ago, fans are still reeling in pain from the damage Sam Raimi did to the wall-crawler’s reputation. There is definitely a desire to see this story done right, but the only reason is because fans are hungry for a decent representation of Venom. Sony knows this and have shown they are willing to cut corners in order to give fans what they “want.” Greenlighting this story would be dangerous for Marvel with their studios just recently striking the deal with Sony to share Spidey’s film rights. Sony could get ahead of themselves and rush to make a Venom movie without the proper backstory in place. Oh wait… that’s already happening.

1. Secret Empire

What’s It About?

Captain America, secretly a true believer in the terrorist organization Hydra, uses the respect and trust he’s gained from his fellow heroes to rise to a position of power where he can enact Hydra’s ideals. Shattered by betrayal, the rest of Marvel’s heroes must come together to stop this oncoming threat that has been secretly gaining momentum for years.

Why It Wouldn’t Work

Back in the 1940s, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby created Captain America as a patriotic super soldier that could stand up to the Nazis and punch Adolf Hitler in the face. The initial issue of Captain America, released December 20, 1940, shows him doing just that. To take a character such as Captain America and to turn him into a Nazi, let alone a villain, is a complete disgrace to the intentions of his creators.

While it’s not clear which side of the fence Rogers will fall in the end, as the full story has not been published yet, and there is still debate on whether Rogers has been altered by the comic cube or not, to bring this story to the big screen would be a disaster. I could almost guarantee there would be protests. Keeping Cap in a good light is that important to people. For years, Captain America has stood as a symbol of hope and freedom. To see him betray his friends, especially in the current political climate, for the ideals of Hydra, hurts quite a lot, but not in the fun “this makes great storytelling” kind of way. It hurts in the kind of way that makes you wonder if anything good ever lasts.

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