With Marvel Studios’ latest bid for world domination arriving in US theaters in a matter of hours, it has become clear that anything Marvel wants to do on-screen is going to bring in enough money to at least make the attempt worthwhile. So with that in mind, we at Psycho Drive-In, in our infinite wisdom, have compiled a list of ten characters (and groups) who would fit right in to the current Marvel Cinematic Universe (which also includes ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter, along with Netflix’s Daredevil, etc.), making it a better place for all of us. Without further ado, here are the Top Ten Characters the MCU Needs, Stat! Brother/Doctor Voodoo In 2016, horror director Scott Derrickson will be bringing Marvel’s Doctor Strange to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (although there are rumors he may cameo before that in Netflix’s Iron Fist series). This is going to be the next big risk that Marvel Studios will be taking (after Thor and then Guardians of the Galaxy opened up the MCU to cosmic forces), as magical realms are added to what so far has been a mostly technological-based science fictional world. In the comics, Doctor Strange is the Sorcerer Supreme of this reality and the defender of our world from dark forces. But he wasn’t the first or last in the history of Marvel Comics. Brother Voodoo debuted in the Marvel Universe in Strange Tales #169 (1973), as psychologist Jericho Drumm returned to his native Haiti to discover that his twin brother Daniel (who happens to be a voodoo priest) is dying — the victim of a rival voodoo sorcerer. Before Daniel died, he made Jericho promise to visit his mentor, Papa Jambo, who proceeds to train Jericho to become an even more powerful houngan than his brother was. Together with the spirit of Daniel helping him, Jericho assumed the title Brother Voodoo, defeated the rival houngan, and becomes Haiti’s houngan supreme. Since then, Brother Voodoo stayed on the fringes of the Marvel Universe, popping up here and there over the years until 2009, when he replaced Stephen Strange as Sorcerer Supreme and assumed the title Doctor Voodoo. In 2003, the Sci Fi Channel began developing a Brother Voodoo TV movie that would serve as a back-door pilot for a potential series, but nothing ever came of it. So with Doctor Strange opening up the mystical realms of the MCU, it’s the perfect opportunity to not only populate this particular subculture but to provide another hero of color to Marvel’s live-action lineup. Launching from Doctor Strange, Brother Voodoo could play a key supporting role before stepping out into his own film franchise, possibly mirroring the comics storyline where he assumes Strange’s title. One of the benefits of Jericho as a character is also that the magical forces he is aligned with and battles at least bear the names of traditional voodoo loa, while seguing into Marvel’s invented magical beings and realms. He provides a magical experience that begins grounded in our world before expanding into the more fantastical. — Paul Brian McCoy Cloak & Dagger I’ve long felt that this duo has never entirely lived up to their dramatic potential. Two teen runaways from widely diverse backgrounds encounter each other upon their coincidental arrival in New York City. They fall into the clutches of evil men doing evil things and are forced through a procedure that awakens abilities within each of them. Tyrone finds his body transformed into a sort of trans-dimensional cluster of dark matter. He wraps himself in what could have been the Addams Family’s favorite picnic blanket and begins answering to the name Cloak. His new form allows him the gift of teleportation and the ability to consume people into the folds of his cloak, sending them to someplace very cold and very dark until he deems fit to expel them. Tandy, on the other hand, glows now and can create weaponized daggers of hard light, hence the name Dagger. Tyrone suffers some sort of strange hunger, which eases when he’s exposed to Tandy’s light. The two of them declare a war on the Manhattan drug cartels and aren’t interested in taking prisoners. What has always intrigued me most about these characters is Ty’s dependency upon Tandy and, more specifically, her light. Tandy’s natural kindness makes her ripe for exploitation, but Ty’s inherent nobility prevents him from ever truly making demands upon her. Cloak and Dagger could slip quietly and naturally into the Defenders grouping of series on Netflix (maybe wave 2?). Or better yet, their origin could easily be dovetailed with some sort of mystical shenanigans and become a blip on Dr. Strange’s radar down the cinematic road a bit. Ty’s form always seemed mystical to me, like it was a gateway to someplace wholly separate from reality. That would fall squarely in Steven Strange’s wheelhouse, right? Cloak and Dagger would have the potential for a new type of story for Marvel Studios. Namely, a sophisticated, angsty teen drama with a superhero twist. — Rick Shingler Death’s Head There was a time when I thought there was no chance of a Death’s Head movie or TV appearance, but then there was a time when I didn’t think there was any chance of an Ant-Man film, and the idea that Rocket Raccoon would not only be in a film but one of the highest-earning films ever would have been absurd five years ago, so it seems anything is possible. Death’s Head first appeared in a one-page comic strip for copyright purposes but his first proper appearance was in Marvel UK’s Transformers comic, where he was introduced as a contrast to the good-versus-evil morality of the franchise. He presented himself as a businessman-mechanoid who was above vendettas and ideology and cared only for making a profit, although of course there was the odd exception. After an incident with a god, a time portal, and some explosives, he bounced around the Marvel Universe for a while, along the way meeting She-Hulk, the Fantastic Four at least twice, the Iron Man of 2020, and the Seventh Doctor. (This makes more sense than it may seem; Marvel UK published the Doctor Who comic strip at the time.) Then the 90’s happened and he got killed and replaced by a grim-and-gritty version and then that version got cancelled with the rest of the Marvel UK line. That seemed to be it until a fan named Kieron Gillen brought the original — he’s a time-traveller, remember — back in S.W.O.R.D. and since then there have been a handful of other appearances in the modern Marvel Universe. Death’s Head sort of fits in the same niche as Deadpool. Like Deadpool he’s a mercenary with an element of comedy to him, although it’s more of an ironic, world-weary comedy, more Reginald Perrin than Looney Tunes. Unlike Deadpool the film and TV rights aren’t tied up with another company and as a dimension-jumping time traveller DH can appear anywhere; it’s just as plausible for him to turn up in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as it would be in Guardians of the Galaxy. That’s probably the best use for him, assuming that we’re never going to get a Death’s Head movie or TV programme; he can pop up in a cameo or guest appearance, there to collect a bounty keep the peace and probably get blown up while lamenting his rotten luck. He’d be simple enough to create for the screen as he’s more of a person-in-a-suit than a CGI creation like Ultron and his face is more or less Darth Vader’s with animated eyebrows. The trickiest bit would be the voice; the character has a distinctive speech pattern and I’ve always heard his voice as British but with a sort of comedy eastern European twang, something like Alexei Sayle used to do in The Young Ones, with a bit of Marvin the Paranoid Android thrown in for a laugh. Who you’d get in to do that, I don’t know. Brian Cox? If they could work out the rights — and I don’t know whether it would be more or less hassle with such an obscure character — I’d also love to see Death’s Head appear in Doctor Who, but perhaps that’s another article for another day. — Kelvin Green Midnight Sons One of the great things about the Marvel Universe, both in the comics and in live-action, is the way they are able to keep adding dimensions that expand and add complexity to their ongoing shared narratives. Thor was the first film to really push those boundaries, establishing a more cosmic aspect to the MCU, while Captain America then stretched backwards to incorporate more traditional war narratives. Guardians of the Galaxy was the next big gamble, pushing the cosmic MCU out far enough that earth is a distant memory and none of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes even make an appearance. The next expansion of the MCU came with Netfilx’s Daredevil, and their upcoming A.K.A. Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders series. While Daredevil is just the first of the planned set of series establishing the “street-level” heroes in the MCU, it was so successful that it’s hard to imagine the rest of the shows falling too terribly short of their mark. So while it’s a bit early to herald this model as a success, if Marvel Studios wanted to expand the horror side of the MCU, this would be an ideal approach — giving a slate of characters their own individual series and then a team-up series tying them all together would be perfect for Marvel’s Midnight Sons! Traditionally Midnight Sons has been a comic that allowed Marvel to throw their more “heroic” horror characters together for various occult adventures. The stories have incorporated a number of different characters and would provide a wonderful launching pad for a variety of Marvel Horror characters we haven’t seen yet or even a couple that could use some redeeming (Blade and Ghost Rider, hint hint). With an initial line-up of Morbius the Living Vampire (providing a mad-science series), Jack Russell the Werewolf by Night (with a horror action approach), Jennifer Kale (going full-on magical horror), along with Ghost Rider serving as the Daredevil-like anchor series (redeeming the failed films by other companies) the Midnight Sons set of shows would establish the depth and breadth of Marvel’s horror landscape. You could even throw in Damien Hellstrom the Son of Satan in there as a recurring character with the Midnight Sons team-up series focusing on dark forces trying to recruit him to take the throne of Hell while the gang tries to save his soul or adapt the original Midnight Sons storyline where they come together to stop Lilith, the Mother of Demons from rising up and taking over the world. Or something like that. By presenting the group of shows on Netlix, with their looser censorship requirements, more graphic and disturbing elements could be emphasized without having to worry about catering to a PG-13 rating. I mean, have your seen Netflix’s original horror series Hemlock Grove? Midnight Sons would provide Marvel Studios with the chance to redefine what audiences might think would be possible in a Cinematic Universe where the Avengers come together to fight alien threats. — Paul Moon Knight Moon Knight is at his best when he’s allowed to be nuts. B-A-N-A-N-A-S. Here’s a guy with multiple personality disorder, running around in what amounts to a day-glo costume to fight bad guys at night. He hasn’t always been portrayed as unstable, but I happen to like him that way. Marc Spector, all-around badass mercenary/military type is helping out with an unsanctioned archaeological dig in Egypt when he gets beaten up and left for dead at the feet of a statue of Khonshu, the Egyptian god of the moon. He recovers and stumbles back to America to begin working as the earthly avatar of Khonshu, forging a silvery white costume and calling himself Moon Knight. Getting a taste for secret identities, he creates two more: Steven Grant, a jazillionaire playboy industrialist (not the comic book writer – I checked) and a New York cab driver named Jake Lockley. Using these four personas, he is able to tap into nearly every level of seedy misdoings that the New York metropolitan area has to offer. Why this character has yet to graduate to the screen is beyond this writer’s understanding. Visually, he’s a home run with his blindingly white costume and fully-hooded face. His multiple secret identities allow for a built in storytelling diversity that can’t be found in most comic adaptation. Sure, naysayers often dismiss him as a bargain-basement Batman. I might challenge those folks with the thought that maybe, just maybe, it would be ok to portray someone who puts on tights and a cape, straps a bunch of gadgets to his belt, and goes out to fight bad guys as a bit… unbalanced. I’d love to see him introduced into Daredevil’s corner of the MCU. I mean, this guy needs at least a dozen episodes or so to explore all the things that make him tick, and the tone set by Netflix’s Daredevil series would suit Moon Knight perfectly. — Rick Nextwave As I understand it, Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man was considered a bit too weird and funny for Marvel’s new movie division; if Ant-Man was too weird I can’t imagine anyone giving a nextwave film the green light. That said, I think there’s room for it. Superhero parodies on screen — even the good ones — have tended to focus on the silliness of people running around in bright spandex; not only is that an easy target but the last time a screen superhero wore a body stocking was decades ago so it’s something of a stale joke. Other satirical approaches explore the idea of vigilantism and the kind of person who would dress up to fight crime, and while often funny, at their heart these films are trying to Say Something Important. nextwave takes neither approach; instead it looks more at the over-serious posturing of superhero comics of the time and the way the genre seemed to have turned its back on fun, so while there is a joke about Fin Fang Foom being a huge Chinese dragon wearing purple underpants, it is also the only comic from that era that is even using characters and concepts like Fin Fang Foom; everything else from the period is chatty and low-key and slow. nextwave is a jab at how dull superhero comics were at that time. I think one of the reasons that the Marvel films have done so well in recent years is that unlike their DC counterparts they are not too serious, and as a result there’s less room for a screen nextwave to lampoon that aspect; that said, even bold and extravagant films like Guardians of the Galaxy have their sombre moments, whereas nextwave is all joy and laughs and explosions and smashing jeeps with guitars. A screen version would have to be less of a parody of superhero seriousness — unless the makers focused their attention on DC, but that would be a bit mean-spirited — and more of a celebration of the more exaggerated and implausible concepts the other Marvel films haven’t yet touched. A grand celebration of fun it may be but nextwave is also significant for having a black woman as its lead character. The film-or-TV-producers would want to avoid Saying Something Important because that’s not what nextwave is about but they wouldn’t need to bring any particular attention to Monica Rambeau being in charge for it to be significant, nor would they have to make any comment about three of the five team members being women for it to be a positive move. Disney’s misogynistic merchandising department would probably implode, but that’s no great loss. Casting would be key as the actors would need to combine action skills with comedy timing; I won’t get into fantasy casting here — although I can see Hilary Duff as Boom Boom for some reason — but it is imperative that Dirk Anger is played by David Hasslehoff. Given that the nextwave comic is organised into short, punchy stories of two issues each I would be inclined to adapt it as a TV series; its overt zaniness would be a more effective contrast with Daredevil and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. than it would with Guardians of the Galaxy and Joss Whedon’s Avengers. That said, part of me thinks it could work as an anthology film; it would be odd and disjointed and it’s not been done before in the superhero genre, but all of that strikes me as characteristic and fitting of the eccentric source material. Either way, film or TV series, it already has its own theme tune, so some of the work is already done. Make it happen, Marvel! — Kelvin Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu Shang-Chi was introduced in Special Marvel Edition #15 (December 1973) as the son of Sax Rohmer’s pulp criminal mastermind Fu Manchu and, of course, the master of kung fu. After discovering his father’s true nature (EVIL!!), Shang-Chi swore eternal opposition to Fu Manchu and fought him as an agent of British Intelligence, under the command of Sir Denis Nayland Smith. The series was extremely successful and under writer Doug Moench, did a fantastic job of crafting complex espionage adventures tied up with classic pulp sensibilities. Of course, these days Marvel has dumped the Fu Manchu and Nayland Smith connection, as they no longer have the rights to the characters (which is why we don’t have any collections of these amazing classic comics), but that doesn’t mean that the character has no place in the MCU. In fact, given the amount of espionage that forms the backbone of the Marvel Studios films and television shows, Shang-Chi is a natural for a recurring role on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., or as a supporting character in the Captain America films. At the same, the grounding of the character in real-world kung fu combat means that he would fit just as comfortably in the new world being established in the Netflix series, particularly the upcoming Iron Fist. Ideally, though I’d prefer to see him appear in a solo series not necessarily tied to the current line-ups. If the Disney/Marvel money available could make the Rohmer estate an offer they can’t refuse, I’d love to see faithful adaptations of the comics with a modern sensibility that be suited for HBO (wish wish) or at least AMC, with mature themes and an honest approach to crafting a true zen hero for a modern audience. One of the greatest things about Shang-Chi was the conflicts he felt trying to be a good man in a world of backstabbing, double crosses, and complex moral choices. That and the awesome kung fu action! Is there anything on TV or in movies right now that scratches those itches? Agents of SHIELD does the best it can, but has found itself shifting more towards sci-fi and superheroes as the superb second season has plowed on. It would be nice to see something in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that was mature enough to give us an old-school spy series for adults without having to worry about how it affected the more family-friendly properties. — Paul She-Hulk So, when you really need an emergency blood transfusion and the only person available with a compatible blood type is your cousin, it’s probably best that your cousin not be Bruce Banner. On the other hand, maybe it’s OK. Jennifer Walters, after undergoing a transfusion of gamma-irradiated blood from her cousin, transformed into the She-Hulk. Being much more in touch with her feelings than her temperamental cuz, she didn’t succumb to the savagery of the Hulk. Her strength and skin tone, however, did take on a considerable Hulkishness. Choosing to retain her Amazonian form because she likes the confidence and independence it allows her, she acts as a highly-skilled criminal defense lawyer. In addition to her civilian accomplishments, she has served as an Avenger for several incarnations of the team, and was even a member of the Fantastic Four during Rocky Grimm’s sabbatical on Disco Beyonder’s Battleworld (don’t ask). Jennifer has been a constant in the Marvel Comics Universe since her creation by Stan Lee in 1980. Incidentally, she was the last character Stan the Man would create for Marvel until 1992. She could fit into the current Marvel Cinematic Universe in many places. If it were up to me (and I’m just egotistical enough to think that it should be), I would place Jennifer Walters in a courtroom to spar with Matt Murdock in a future season of Daredevil, then formally introduce her in a new Hulk movie. World War Hulk, anyone? Reconfigure her origin to tie into the story, and we suddenly have She-Hulk to participate in the festivities alongside whatever other Avengers characters show their faces for the climactic battle. She could argue a defense for her cousins’ actions and negotiate on his behalf, in order to set up the sequel of Planet Hulk as well as integrate herself into the Avengers for future sequels. I’m fanficking here, I know, but the point is that Jennifer Walters, the skilled lawyer and poster child for self-confidence, is far too impressive of a persona to not be included in the Marvel movie canon. — Rick Spider-Woman Let’s assume for a minute that Sony wouldn’t throw a hissy fit over Marvel Studios introducing Spider-Woman into their canon. In the comics, Jessica Drew was given powers when her mother’s pregnant belly was zapped with radiation imbued with the DNA of many different types of spiders. Yeah, yeah. Like your origin story’s any better. As she grew into womanhood, HYDRA’s brainwashing services sculpted her into one of their agents. One of her earliest assignments was to kidnap Alicia Masters, stepdaughter to Puppet Master as well as (unfortunately for Spider-Woman) main squeeze to Ben Grimm of the Fantastic Four. During the ensuing Clobberin’ Time, Jessica comes to her senses and realizes that she’s been a pawn of HYDRA and attempts to turn things around. As time goes, she works off and on for SHIELD before eventually settling into the private sector as a private eye. In the MCU, Jessica could serve as a bridge between Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Netflix Defenderverse (can I copywrite that word?). With her HYDRA background, inserting her as a double agent on AoS would be a no-brainer. Send her after Phil Coulson or Agent Mae and let the resulting sparks break through her conditioning. Given her comics-continuity professional friendship with Jessica Jones in the pages of Alias, Ms. Drew would be likely to appear on the other end of her brainwash recovery as a private eye in either AKA Jessica Jones or the Luke Cage series on Netflix. Marvel Studios could probably avoid an angry phone call from Sony by giving her the same sort of treatment as Mockingbird on AoS. Don’t bother with the costume. Dismiss the codename with a bit of pithy dialogue. We’ve seen an upsurge of strong women in the TV arm of the MCU. I’m sure there’s room for one more. — Rick Taskmaster I still remember the first appearance of Taskmaster in Avengers #195 (May 1980). I was 12 years old and not only was George Perez’s design just about the coolest thing I’d ever seen, the idea of a guy with “photographic reflexes” who could mimic any action he’d seen was about the coolest idea I’d ever read. And if you’ve seen the Thai action film Chocolate, you know what I’m talking about. There’s just something naturally attractive about a character who can watch something on TV or in a movie and then mimic it perfectly — especially if they’re watching kung fu or action films. Taskmaster has traditionally been a villain-of-sorts, training and supplying henchmen for real villains, and in recent years has been rehabilitated into an anti-hero-of-sorts. In 2010, Fred van Lente wrote a miniseries where it was revealed that Taskmaster’s photographic reflex ability kept him from remembering his own origins or who he really was. Without doing a straight adaptation of this storyline, Marvel could easily establish the character as a mysterious figure supplying bad guys with cannon fodder, who discovers that he has a mysterious past as a SHIELD agent (taken from the mini). Combined with earlier storylines from the comics, where his abilities were utilized to train a number of Captain America foes (the upcoming Captain America: Civil War villain Crossbones, in particular), the natural place to introduce the character would be in a Captain America film, but he could just as easily be brought into the MCU via Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. And speaking of which, how awesome would it be for tainted ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Grant Ward to disappear for a while, only to reappear with no memory of his former self (post-T.A.H.I.T.I. perhaps?), but running a mercenary training operation as Taskmaster? — Paul Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related 4 Responses Kelvin Green May 1, 2015 A million times yes on Shang Chi and She-Hulk. Log in to Reply Paul Brian McCoy May 1, 2015 Union Jack and Spitfire. Or just The Invaders. WWII UK heroes fighting Baron Blood and Nazi vampires. I’d watch that as either a TV series or a film. Log in to Reply Shawn EH May 1, 2015 If they can get the right tone for She-Hulk (smart humor, not broad slapstick) that would be fresh; I’ll have to see Jessica Jones first before I know if we also need Spider-Woman in the MCU. Log in to Reply Alex Wolfe June 21, 2015 Those last three, for damn sure. Log in to Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.