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Marvel's Comic Plans to Affect The Movies?

Read on to learn how Marvel's announcements mean bigger changes to the Cinematic Universe.

This week's news of major changes within Marvel Comics are potentially bigger than those when the company relauched its comic series under the new banner Marvel Now! nearly two years ago. At that time, the shifting of writers, the introduction of new lines, and the re-positioning of characters like Rocket Raccoon and The Guardians of the Galaxy made their introduction into the Cinematic Universe possible. But as news this week of shake-ups for Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man were slowly rolled out on various television talk shows, two things became very apparent.

Before getting into that, let's look at the changes themselves. On Monday, Marvel announced that Thor was losing his ability to wield Mjolnir, and that his power was being transferred to a woman. On Wednesday, The Colbert Report announced that Captain America will soon be replaced by The Falcon, as America's Hero will lose his Super Soldier abilities and be reduced to essentially an old man. Marvel will complete the transformation by introducing an Apple-tech Iron Man while embarking the character on a darker path reminiscent of his days before the suits. But as we said, such changes aren't happening just because someone at Marvel lost a bet. And while we're not ready to declare these as the only reasons, these seem the most likely.

The first lies in Marvel's desire to better align its comics and movie universes, providing what could become a unique melding of them with their television assets such as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the impending series of Netflix releases. Imagine a storyline started in a MN! property, eventually showing up on AoS, and then carried into a movie. Such a move would be difficult to pass off, especially considering that so many creative hands are in the cookie jar already. Imagine three different sets of people crafting a congruent arc that all could agree on - such a scenario seems unlikely, but another one does: the arc is written by one team or one person. Spider-man writer J. Michael Strasynski is capable of doing something like this, as his comic work is equalled only by his television side as creator and penner of most of the Babylon 5 series. But while this scenario is possible (but not probable), we think a bigger issue has arisen: Marvel Studios is moving forward without its big three studio actors.

Imagine a movie universe without Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans as Captain America, and Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man. Correct, few can and Marvel Studios knows this. Unfortunately, stories of the three either wanting more money or to divorce themselves from their respective franchises is a reality few can argue, and it seems that Marvel is moving forward without them and perhaps their versions of the characters. Their decisions to re-cast their comic versions are going to play out in the movie universe as the contracts of the big three end. Evans has already made his intention to leave acting clear (he wants to direct), and Hemsworth and RDJ have probably become too expensive (and possibly too old) to reprise their roles. Could we see Sebastian Stan as "The Bucky Cap" or current movie Falcon Anthony Mackie as "Black America?" Based on the response Marvel will get from its comic relaunch, we could see just such a change.

In the end, events like these remind us that life is ever-changing, sometimes by the hand who made them in an event to keep things fresh. Sometimes circumstances force change, and it's clear that Marvel feels the need to make changes for reasons that are not immediately available. If this is a move to bring more diversity to its characters, we applaud such a move, provided that the same care given to previous incarnations are done a proper justice. But, how fans react in these universes will drive the entire movement, especially those who consider themselves core fans. The Marvel Universe is about to get a lot bigger and in lots of ways: let's hope there's space for hardcore fans as well as previously untapped ones who could follow a black Captain America, or a female Thor. Either way, things are about to get more interesting.

Discuss this story with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.


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