With the success of Jessica Jones receiving nearly universal acclaim, it is hard not to immediately turn to which characters Marvel should explore from here. The binge model clearly works for Marvel heroes, and with Netflix attempting to release more content than ever, there is a strong likelihood that Marvel will get a call to add more series.
With that in mind, here are ten characters that Marvel should look at when they choose to make more series.
A few qualifiers before we jump into the list. First, I chose to exclude characters that have either already been confirmed to be in a Netflix series, or if there have been leaked discussions about them in a Netflix context. With that in mind, Ghost Rider, Moon Knight, the Punisher, Misty Knight, and Blade are all out.
Second, I decided against including any cosmic heroes. While Nova, Moondragon, Cosmo and others would be amazing to see on a Netflix show, the budgetary constraints would hurt the quality. To successfully integrate those shows, the special effects should be on par with those of Guardians of the Galaxy.
Third, I decided to eliminate redundant heroes. The two characters I really wanted to add to this list were Amadeus Cho and Miles Morales. However, with an existing Hulk and Spiderman coming to the MCU, adding these characters are not practical at this time. With that in mind, let’s get this going.
Shang-Chi is known as the master of Kung-Fu, and with good reason. Closely allied with many of the Defenders, as well as Spiderman and Moon Knight at times, he would be a reasonable addition to the street level heroes of New York. Not only would it add the first Asian-American superhero to the MCU (Elektra could be a superheroine, but also could function as a villain in Daredevil), but it would present a drastically different perspective of New York City. At this point, the MCU has flat out avoided Chinatown. Shang-Chi’s personal connection to the neighborhood in the same way that Hell’s Kitchen influences Daredevil. Also, Shang-Chi’s been part of the Heroes for Hire, and could easily be a team member of that group as well.
If you thought Thor was the only god in the MCU think again. Hercules has been an important Avenger for some time, and is often considered one of the greatest Avengers of all time. Often guest starring in both Thor and Hulk comics, Hercules has superhuman strength and healing abilities that give him the ability to go toe to toe with the strongest heroes in existence. He’s also had the best staying power of any of the Olympian characters. Considering he actually headlined the “Incredible Hulk” comic for a short time during/after World War Hulk, he should be a character that’s introduced via Netflix instead of a feature film.
#8- Jack Flagg
Flagg has an extremely interesting character arc that few readers have had a chance to come across. Flagg’s first appearance was within the Captain America comics in the 1990s. He appeared from time to time over the next decade, often siding with Cap, but after the events of Civil War he was targeted by Norman Osbourne’s Thunderbolts group. Flagg was left paralyzed after the events of the Thunderbolts attack, and he was left in a Negative Zone prison until he was rescued by the Guardians of the Galaxy in 2009. Flagg, like Cap, is an extremely heroic character that puts himself at risk in order to help his other teammates. Considering that he became a member of the Guardians (after he regained the ability to walk) Flagg could serve as a bridge between the Earth based heroes and the Cosmic universe.
Crossbones was introduced in “Captain America: Winter Soldier,” but little is known about Frank Grillo’s character. Crossbones has primarily been an antagonist of Captain America, but his work as a mercenary could be interesting to explore. More importantly, HYDRA has been reduced to a joke in the MCU despite the fact that they came from a place of power at the end of Cap 2. Using a Crossbones “limited series” could reestablish the villainous group, and work to introduce dozens of new villains in the process. Grillo could easily headline this show, and really embrace his role as the MCU’s answer to Deathstroke.
#6- Alpha Flight
This super group is unique in a lot of ways, but would be incredibly fun to watch. The Canadian answer to the Avengers, Alpha Flight has had quite the fun group of heroes in their group. After the Civil War event, Alpha Flight functioned in some level as a border control group for American heroes looking to avoid incarceration. Marvel has always been solid at examining real world policies through their stories, and Alpha Flight could be socially relevant as immigration remains a controversial topic in politics and discourse. But really, why wouldn’t we want Sasquatch in the MCU?
Black Widow is not the only spy in the MCU, as Spider-Woman seems to constantly be switching her alliances. Jessica Drew has been major figure in HYDRA, a SHIELD spy, and has been a huge impact on the Avengers in recent years. Her power set was not the result of radioactive spiders, but her cosmic abilities would make her a unique addition to the MCU.
#4- The Howling Commandos
“Agent Carter” was relatively successful in its first season, but few would argue that her team-up with the Howling Commandos was the best episode of the season. The group, formed by Captain America to combat HYDRA, could provide a cool point of view for the formation of SHIELD. Placing it in the 1950s would also make it unique as the group could be a globe-trotting special ops team, or be embroiled in the Korean War. More than anything else, seeing the adventures of Dum Dum Dugan would be awesome.
#3- Winter Soldier
Violence has become a staple of the Netflix series’, and no character may have a more violent past in the MCU than the Winter Soldier. If a Howling Commandos show can be set in the past, a Winter Soldier film could do the same. However, that violence may make it difficult to root for Bucky in the future, so a more likely scenario is to use him as a vigilante (similar to “Arrow”). His comics of late have had pretty strong reviews, and could be another avenue to take a potential series. Really, Sebastian Stan needs more airtime in the MCU, and a Netflix show give us that. Obviously, with the release of the Civil War trailer yesterday, he looks to be the center of the film. Depending on how Marvel chooses to take the end of Civil War, Bucky could be looking to take on a big gig and a Netflix show can document that transition.
Above I explained that I would look to avoid redundancies when choosing the characters. She-Hulk’s cousin is Bruce Banner, she has green skin, and her power base is centered on super strength. However, that is where the similarities end. She-Hulk has a lot of qualities that make her story more unique than her cousin, namely that she remains in her She-Hulk form even when she is not angry. Despite the fact she could be a hero full-time, she remains dedicated to being a lawyer, and has even had showdowns with Matt Murdock on occasion. One of the more interesting aspects of her “Savage She-Hulk” comic was that it broke the fourth wall. If Marvel wants to really shake things up and create a unique character in the process, She-Hulk is the way to go.
#1- The Thunderbolts
With DC releasing its “Suicide Squad” film in 2016 and Spiderman’s “Sinister Six” still a possibility, a villains led team seems like it can be a popular group among audiences today. There are several things that should occur before the Thunderbolts come to fruition. First, we need the addition of Bullseye to the Thunderbolts. Second, Elektra should be established as a villain as well. With Punisher already confirmed for “Daredevil” Season 2, those three could easily make-up 3/5s of the team. We’re already getting Baron Zemo in “Captain American: Civil War,” and Daniel Brühl would be a valuable asset on a television show. If a Crossbones solo show doesn’t makes sense to Marvel, here is a great place to expand his role.
Regardless of who becomes part of the team, because the roster can go literally dozens of directions, thirteen hours of content would almost certainly give the characters more room to breathe and develop than a film version would allow. With Netflix willing to give the characters room to breathe and simultaneously embrace the violent world around them, this may be the best place for this super-team to land.