– by Nick Doll

The Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as Marvel Studios’ competitors, have begun to realize the key to keeping their superhero films fresh is mixing them up with other genres.

Before the MCU was more than just Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk, Christopher Nolan made The Dark Knight a crime thriller, almost more comparable to movies such as The Untouchables than Tim Burton’s Batman films.

Marvel Studios’ more recent and more successful films have taken the tried and true superhero genre and combined it with genres such as heist films (Ant-Man), space operas (Guardians of the Galaxy), a war films (Captain America: The First Avenger), a mystical and trippy adventure (Doctor Strange), a John Hughes type coming-of-age story (Spider-Man: Homecoming), and just plain comedies (Thor: Ragnarok and many others), among others.

Obviously, even though they’re 17 films into this world, the MCU isn’t going anywhere any time soon, and in order to keep things fresh, they’ll need to keep on mixing up the genres.

With that in mind, we asked the following question: what genres should the MCU dip into next to keep their library fresh?

To be clear, for this list, we are covering only Marvel Cinematic Universe films, so while certain genres may exist in some of the other Marvel TV shows, we opted to keep discussions exclusively focused on their movies.

1. Horror

Marvel Studios’ competitors are all over this genre, so it’s time for the MCU to make the same venture. Fox is releasing New Mutants, Sony has Venom, and Spawn is coming from Todd McFarlane; all described as horror films.

Horror may be a trickier genre for the Disney owned MCU to pull off, as apparently R-rated films are a “no no.” But it doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

There are several routes Marvel can take to create a horror film. Doctor Strange 2 could easily be made darker, with a more horrific foe, some sort of supernatural force only the Sorcerer Supreme could take on. With Baron Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofer) already set as the villain for the sequel, he could summon creatures from our nightmares from a darker dimension. So, though it couldn’t be rated R, the Doctor Strange franchise could at least take a darker, scarier path, making it the least family friendly franchise in the MCU, which would be refreshing.

Another option is to create a film set outside the Marvel Universe, a multiverse or “what if” type story, using the Marvel Zombies comic for direction. Marvel Zombies is a five-issue limited series from 2005, written by Robert Kirkman of Walking Dead fame. In this alternate universe, the world’s superhero population has been infected with a virus which, well, turns them into zombies. Changes would need to be made, as with any adaptation of a classic story in the MCU, making Marvel Zombies a viable option, should Marvel ever want to venture into alternate universes.

2. Buddy “Cop”/Bromance

Some have called Thor: Ragnarok a buddy film, while others say it is also a road trip movie. I didn’t feel like it was much of either. Yes, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) team up and have some witty banter, but I’m more thinking more what the MCU version of Lethal Weapon or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid would look like.

One of my favorite comics, the one I feel has the best buddy team, is Spider-Man/Deadpool, which unfortunately would never come to pass in the MCU due to the fact that Sony still has the rights to Spider-Man (even if they are willing to share… for now), and Deadpool is owned by Fox. But, I’ve already seen real potential in two characters who have had a wonderfully offbeat relationship in Captain America: Civil War.

The Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie) were absolutely hilarious together in Civil War. Whether it was Wilson refusing to adjust his seat so Bucky could have more leg room, the pair giving Captain America that look when he finally kisses Sharon Carter, or their bungled fight against Spider-Man in the airport scene, these two are quite the entertaining pair to watch.

Like any good buddy cop pairing, Falcon and Bucky are a bit mismatched, but also have great chemistry. In a post Avengers 4 world, for all we know Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) will be dead, and it will be time for a new Captain America. Both men have held the title of Captain America in the comics, so why not make them both Cap and call it Captains America? Or, leave them as Falcon and Winter Solider and still pair them together.

I don’t care which approach Marvel uses, but get these two Captain America sidekicks their own film, Marvel! Do it!

3. Spy Thriller

I guess you could call Captain America: The Winter Soldier a spy thriller, but only in the loosest of terms. I would say it is a ‘70s style conspiracy thriller; what I would like to see is a full-on spy adventure akin to 007 or Mission: Impossible.

You could do a young Nick Fury movie, even pre-Captain Marvel – which is set in the ‘90s – involving Alexander Pierce as well. Obviously we would no longer be using Samuel L. Jackson and Robert Redford, respectively. But if you could cast young versions of them, set it in the ‘70s or so… baby, you got a spy thriller going! This would also be before the age of superheroes (except Captain America, who would be frozen in ice at the time), so you can go full spy movie, leaving any superhumans out of it completely (Hank Pym’s Ant-Man was active in the ‘80s, so it would predate him as well). Is it still a superhero movie, then? Maybe not, but it can certainly still live in the MCU and expand the universe.

Or, we could kill two birds with one stone and make the Black Widow movie we all want a straight-up spy thriller with limited superbeings. I would say set it before Iron Man 2 as well, before the age of heroes. Show us the type of missions Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) was on when we meet her again in The Avengers. Infiltrating enemy bases, using fake identities, preventing WWIII, that sort of classic spy stuff is what I would like to see incorporated into the MCU.

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  • Moby85

    Interesting ideas and ones that are well thought out. The most appealing to me, because of its boldness, is horror. It would mean perhaps Marvel shedding it’s teen-friendly PG-13 ratings but it’s the avenue I hope for the most.

  • suckit15694

    5. Film Noir moon knight !


    Kang the Conqueror is unfortunately owned by FOX under the umbrella other Fantastic Four related characters. Good thing we got Ultron, Black Panther, Klaw and Namor under Disney/Marvel Studios, they are all essentially extensions of major FF story lines.

    • Nick

      Ah man, Fox got Kang too? Lame! I did not know that! And they got Doom and Galactus… the Fantastic Four have a great rogue’s gallery.

      Isn’t Namor Fox? I though that was the only reason Marvel hadn’t done him yet.

      • WTFITBS

        I believe Namor was Universal but now owned by Disney/Marvel Studios.

        It’s complete BS that FOX has no intent on making a decent Fantastic Four film in our lifetime but will fight tooth and nail to keep the property. I’m sure whatever Disney offers them will be much more than what any franchise they start up again earns at the box office. I don’t get whats the hold up.

        • Robobob

          I’m still hoping that we will be surprised with a Disney/Marvel Fantastic Four announcement after Avengers 3 or 4. Fox and Disney have been swapping a lot of characters lately. Like Ego/Negasonic. Upcoming movies on both studios are using Skrulls with Disney reportedly using a “lead” Skrull where the Super Skrulls reside with Fox. Fox has launched a few Marvel TV shows which were Disney’s territory.
          I think Fox wanted to see how Spider-man did in BO before fully committing. With that being a hit they must be on board. Of course everyone will lie about the deal because anything else would give it away.

          • WTFITBS

            I’m pretty sure Disney would pay a hefty fee just to acquire the filming rights back for something less than 50 actual characters. Again, a smart business move for FOX to settle on something like 2-3 billion to release these characters since any film they could conceive at this point would flop and actually count as a loss for the studio. It’s a shame because Galactus, the Watcher and Silver Surfer are all absent from next year’s big cinematic finale over petty squabbling between both parties involved.

    • Victor Roa

      this whole pissing match will end soon.

  • Victor Roa

    Made me slap my fore head “why didn’t I think of that” on Moon Knight as Film Noir. Good one.
    You know, one of the biggest flaws of Dr Strange was fast editing of the visuals. Compared to maybe original Blade Runner or the Shinning the lingering on shots do make things more surreal than just throwing something crazy as if it’s the Matrix in 1999. I’m still amazed how people obsesse over the rug on the shinning of the bear costume blowjob scene. Sure it’s over 35 years old and that air of mystery helps, but when it comes to real trippy visuals, it’s all about staring into the abyss.
    But then the simplicity of Guardians one of entering a celestial’s head to bowie music is so simple to say that also just becomes psychedelic just saying it out loud.

  • jonathing

    noh play movie shang chi … silent movie black bolt…. slapstick movie slapstick …. zombi movie fantastic four with everyone else …..animal documentary movie howard duck,,,,, sex movie howard the duck …..

  • syambo87

    They Could Make a Blade Movie with a similar beat as the Korean Movie Train to Busan… Train to Busan is a Horror Movie… but is it rated R?… things happen… people turn to Zombies.. then a rescue is needed and a suspenceful rescue at that…Man-thing could be a Horror movie

    What I’d like to see after Infinity Wars… probably in Phase 4… is like a Mockumentary… Marvel Cinematic Universe: Marvels – about a guy who works as a reporter who was there when iron man announced he was iron man… when iron man challenged the mandarin… when the events of new york and post new york and maybe events of infinity war take place…

    i think infinity wars is going to be a time travel movie…

    Black Panther was said to be a Black Bond Film so i’m just waiting to see that come to fruition..

    • Kindofabigdeal

      I think trapping Blade somewhere with a bunch of vampires and innocents could make one hell of a movie. Like Judge Dredd and The Raid, except make it something different. Hell put them on a zeppelin for all I care. Just do it.

      • syambo87

        wonder would be more interesting to have a blade origin story or just blade in a moving vehicle fighting vampires… A town is hit with vampires and they bite innocent people turning them into vampires… give him a good reason for taking the train… one of the passengers must survive… cant get airborne… army has ordered to shoot down anything that flies… i’d like to see Blade without his weapons… or separated… and working his way cabin to cabin to get to his weapons then… not like hell already broke loose but now blade can vaporize the vampires… speaking of the Raid… one of the comics for Moon Knight was like a Raid Short Story… he’s trying to save a girl who is kidnapped… goes up a building and beats like 20 people…

  • Kronx

    I think Marvel shines best when they shift genres with characters you wouldn’t exactly put in that genre in the first place.

    A spy thriller with Black Widow would be boring. We could guess 90 percent of the plot ahead of time. And she would be waaaay too good at it. It’s the same problem with putting Dr. Strange in a horror film. He’s too well equipped and deals with unknowable Cthulu gods on a regular basis.

    Horror film – Hawkeye. Take away his bow, and he’s one of the more vulnerable heroes. You can still use Dr. Strange type stuff, but make sure Dr. Strange is removed from the equation in the first act. That leaves Hawkeye with a family to protect and no knowledge of magic to use to fight whatever unspeakable evil there is.

    Spy thriller – Vision. His lack of understanding of humanity gives him a nice weakness and the opportunity for unique plot twists along the way.

    Buddy cop/bromance – Kind of a Bad Moms in Space feel with Capt. Marvel, Valkyrie, Gamora and Scarlet Witch.

    Time Travel – Spider-man

    Film Noir – Dr. Strange (or maybe Rocket Raccoon)

  • Robobob

    6) Disaster flick with a World War Hulk movie.

    • Kindofabigdeal

      Don’t tease my spider senses.

  • chaburchak

    When they first announced Dr. Strange they said it would not be an origin film (!) and that it would be more horror-themed, per the director’s background. I was hoping it would be more like CONSTANTINE with Keanu Reeves, but they didn’t go that route. Too bad. Wouldn’t mind seeing a BLADE VS MORBIUS horror flick (or maybe even a team-up) or a Man-Thing movie that actually looks like Man-Thing and not that horrible Syfy Channel movie from a few years back…

  • Kindofabigdeal

    I always thought Brad Pitt looked like a young Robert Redford. He should definitely play Pierce in the 90’s.