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Marvel-ous Monday: What’s Next for the MCU? Three Potential Threats to Come.

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** This article will contain some spoilers from Avengers: Endgame **

Well, one of the largest films in cinematic history debuted this past weekend, and it will continue to captivate audiences for weeks to come.  Avengers: Endgame was everything I hoped it would be and then some, but this week’s Marvel-ous Monday article will not focus on a review of the film.  There were points where I cheered and there were points where I stared in disbelief.  There were moments when the entire theater cheered and clapped and there were moments when you could hear everyone breathe collectively.  I have never watched a movie in that kind of environment, and I want to see the film a few more times before reviewing some of its highlights and challenges.

Instead, I want to attempt to look forward.  It has been an absolutely wild ride since Iron Man debuted in 2008, and Endgame paid as much homage to its illustrious 11 years as it possibly could without distracting audiences from its glorious plans moving forward. I have so many questions revolving around the “What happens next?” premise, and I wish Spider-Man: Far from Home would drop next month to give me some closure.  For starters, when will the film take place? Or, how can the U.S. government expect thought-to-be-dead students to return to school after a five year hiatus? There are so many questions, and for once in Marvel’s impressive run, the creative did not give us a true post-credit scene!

Ugh, frustrating and intriguing at the same time.  However, such lack of direction makes for some great speculation.  The “what-ifs” and “how-abouts” arguably make the movie-going experience more thrilling, and Marvel fans are not shy about sharing their theories and beliefs.  For the next few weeks, Marvel-ous Mondays will focus on just that: theories and beliefs.  Sure, I’ll spend a decent amount of time writing about Far from Home, but I also want to think about Phase 4.  As stated by Kevin Feige, Spider-Man: Far from Home will be considered the end of Phase 3, not Avengers: Endgame.  Phase 4 is expected to begin in 2020, and sequels to Black Panther, Doctor Strange, and Guardians of the Galaxy vols. 1 & 2 are supposed to highlight this next phase, along with new films featuring The Eternals and Shang-Chi.

All of those concepts are definitely intriguing, but one large question remains: Who will be our next Thanos?

Much like Ant-Man being considered the end of Phase 2, Far from Home could possibly provide a post-credit scene featuring a massive, future storyline. With a lot of uncertainty in the MCU, anything is possible, and the films slated for 2020 and beyond will likely build a narrative similar to Phase 1.  Stan Lee and company never had issues creating some notorious villains, but there are only a few worthy enough to take on the universe’s best and potentially stand victorious.  Here are three I would like to see:

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1. Kang the Conqueror – Kang may not be the most intimidating specimen physically, but his mental abilities make him a force capable of sheer destruction.  Kang is a genius with a heightened understanding of physics and history, but his true call to fame is his ability to time travel.  With the current laws surrounding time travel exploited in Endgame, a villain like Kang, who understands such sciences better than any Avenger, would cause problems. Plus, with such a vast understanding of future technology and the ability to acquire it, Kang’s weaponry and armor is the most advanced in the universe. Aside from his intelligence and ability to time travel, Kang does not have any super powers, so his persona is believable in the real life sense that most MCU villains possess. (Plus, Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox makes this villain a real possibility now.)

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2. Galactus – Stan Lee and Jack Kirby wanted to create a new type of villain when they developed Galactus, the Eater of Worlds. The best way I can sum him up is that he is a god-like creature who drains planets of their resources for his personal gain. He has a Thanos-like complex in wanting to rid the universe of waste and weakness, but, unlike Thanos, he does so without feeling guilty.  His driving force is to sustain the balance between eternity and death. Frequently, fans debate over the strongest villain in the Marvelverse, and Galactus is always in the conversation or walking away from it victoriously.  He is a cosmic entity, so his existence is likely to last forever; however, his origin is that of a mortal man. In terms of his powers, it’s simply an unfair fight.  Although he often is depicted with his trademark helmet and large size, his being is determined by his foe, and he uses cosmic energy to manipulate that size and strength. He can also channel telepathy and telekinesis, form portals and force fields, construct new planets/environments, control anyone’s emotions, and even resurrect himself or others.  Very rarely does he lose, but it has happened a few times since his creation.  Those defeats come in different storylines and with different circumstances, so looking at his track record, one could assume the Earth’s mightiest heroes would need some outside help to stand a chance. It would also be somewhat challenging to physically depict him on-screen, but Marvel’s special effects are getting better and better.

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3. Doctor Doom – Arguably one of the most popular villains in the Marvelverse, Doctor Victor Von Doom was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in the 1960s.  He is the tyrannical leader of the fictional country of Latveria, but he was once a respected man.  Through his own insecurities and lust for power, he developed a truly evil persona to achieve world, and even intergalactic, domination. Here we have another genius who is a very skilled inventor and scientist.  His knowledge of robotics and weaponry is unheralded, but his reliance on sorcery and the dark arts make him somewhat god-like.  Aside from his vast robotic armies and advanced weaponry, his mystical abilities allow him to manipulate energy and create force fields.  Doctor Doom can also leave his physical body and technopathically control things.  Aside from these powers and his status, Doctor Doom is one of the most determined individuals in the cosmos.  It is through this will power and determination that he relentlessly pursues what he wants and needs.

Each of aforementioned could make his way into the MCU, especially now that Disney owns each’s rights. The only issue is that each of these individuals has deep roots with characters who have yet to make their way into the MCU (i.e. The Fantastic Four, Adam Warlock, the Silver Surfer, etc…).  However, if Phase 4 is going to usher in a new age, adding some cornerstone characters would be necessary.

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