With the recent success of Marvel’s Luke Cage on Netflix, the hype surrounding the introduction of Ghost Rider to the cast of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the anticipation building for the release of Doctor Strange on the silver screen next month, the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to fire on all cylinders. Since all of the shows and movies exist in the same universe, fans of the MCU are often treated to crossovers between the different narratives.
The most obvious example of this is the first set of films — including Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America and Thor — that culminated in the MCU Phase 1 finale, The Avengers. Agent Phil Coulson’s regular part in the films led to his central role in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Then, as the films continued in Phase 2, the character Ant-Man was introduced in his own movie, then brought back for Captain America: Civil War, the first movie in Phase 3.
The series on Netflix that include Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage so far — with at least Iron Fist, The Punisher, and The Defenders series set to join them — all exist in a world in which they acknowledge the events of the films and share common characters from the city, such as night nurse Claire Temple. While popular Marvel Comics characters like the X-Men and Deadpool are off limits to the MCU, the deep roster allows fans to dream of some possible battles that could come to life on television or in the movies.
As reported by Cinema Blend, as many as 75 characters from the MCU will appear in The Avengers: Infinity War and its yet-untitled sequel. With screenwriter Stephen McFeely neglecting to deny that some of those characters may be from the television series — and rumors that it will include Star-Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as Loki and Nick Fury, two characters that have already been killed-off — the possibilities are endless.
What follows are six examples of battles that Marvel Studios could put together in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The Avengers vs. The Defenders
However the Netflix series tells the story of the Defenders, it seems pretty clear that Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist will operate in a way very unlike a team comprised of Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, and the Hulk. As both squads do their best to protect New York City, it seems entirely possible that the Defenders could begin to take issue with how the Avengers operate — or vice versa. Bring in the Punisher and Spider-Man, and you have a showdown for the ages.
The Punisher vs. Ghost Rider
Both men come with a lot of baggage from their past. Neither man plays well with others, and both men ride the fence between good guy and bad guy. Both Frank Castle and Robbie Reyes are known killers with legendary reputations that precede them. But while the Punisher is a highly-trained military veteran fueled by vengeance, the Ghost Rider simply made a deal with the devil. With Jon Berthnal in the process of filming The Punisher for Netflix — and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continuing to drop in the ratings — it might be just the right time for the ABC series to get a visit from the Punisher.
Heroes For Hire vs. Ant-Man & Groot
Of course, when the conversation is about epic battles featuring the likes of The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, the pairing of the Incredible Hulk and Groot seems to be a fight people would want to see. But when worlds collide, why stop at just two? While the team of Iron Fist and Power Man will be reunited as integral parts of The Defenders, it was no coincidence that Method Man used the phrase “heroes for hire” when he freestyle-rapped in Luke Cage. While Luke could literally tear Groot limb-from-limb, it could be fun to watch him grow frustrated as Groot continually regrows himself. And while there’s no reason to think his wooded offense could even break Cage’s skin, it would be a nice change of pace from the bullets his opponents are normally using to ruin his shirts.
Of course, while Cage and Groot battle it out, Iron Fist would have his hands full trying to pin down the pesky Ant-Man. With a few solid lines delivered by Paul Rudd, a scene like that could be a show-stealer.
Rocket Raccoon vs. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Unfortunately for Agents, the show is struggling to compete in the television marketplace with DC Comics-based series like The Flash, Supergirl, and Gotham. Even with the recent addition of Ghost Rider, this week’s episode received the lowest ratings in show’s four-year history. While the MCU’s content on Netflix and in the theaters continues to do well, S.H.I.E.L.D. continues to be the most forgettable world within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now that the internet is buzzing over the new Guardians of the Galaxy trailer, maybe a colorful character like Rocket Raccoon could provide a much-needed boost in the ratings. While SHIELD is far from a team of do-gooders and Captain America wannabes, no one on the show has quite the level of snark and cynicism as Rocket Raccoon. While a sensible resolution would ultimately work itself out, watching Coulson, May, Mack, and Fitz-Simmons chase around the gun-loving, anthropomorphic rodent for an episode or two could be a lot of fun.
Black Widow vs. Daredevil
One of the countless relationships detailed within the pages of Marvel Comics that has yet to be seen in the movies or on TV is the romance between Matt Murdock and Natasha Romanova. The two co-starred in more than 40 issues of Daredevil, with 15 of them being titled Daredevil and the Black Widow. Would the chemistry between Black Widow and Daredevil emerge on-screen between Scarlett Johansen and Charlie Cox? As two of Marvel’s most-recognized hand-to-hand combatants specializing in martial arts and fun weapons, the choreography for their fight scene could be a thing of beauty. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine a scenario in which Daredevil/Defenders and Black Widow/Avengers happen to be after the same objective for different reasons and start attacking each other before realizing they aren’t actually enemies.
Jessica Jones vs. Daisy/Quake
Now that Daisy is on her own, she isn’t making a lot of new friends. Just when it looked like she might have a confidant in the Ghost Rider, Robbie’s little brother forced Quake to leave. Her black eyeliner makes her literal outlook as dark as her figurative one. That’s not so different from Jessica Jones, who fans of the MCU last saw drinking straight whiskey in response to her voicemail box being full of messages from people needing her assistance. With Daisy always on the run from SHIELD, it wouldn’t be odd for her to try to hideout in Hell’s Kitchen. And whether Coulson hires Alias Investigations to help track down Quake, or whether Jessica and Daisy find their own reasons to get into a scuffle, the battle for the baddest female character in a Marvel television series would be a huge one.
Of course, the possibilities are endless. The tiny list above never even singles out Captain America, Iron Man, Thor or Spider-Man. It doesn’t include anything with the entire Guardians of the Galaxy crew and doesn’t even touch on upcoming characters like Doctor Strange or Captain Marvel. With multiple movies and seasons of television left before The Avengers: Infinity War, there are sure to be some fun crossovers sprinkled in the MCU prior to the 2018 and 2019 blockbusters.
Marvel’s Agents of SH.I.E.L.D. can be seen Tuesday nights on ABC. Marvel series currently available on Netflix include Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage, with Iron Fist, The Punisher and The Defenders all set for series premieres in 2017. The theatrical release of Doctor Strange will be November 4, 2016, with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 scheduled for May 5, 2017. Avengers: Infinity War is scheduled for May 4, 2018, while the sequel is set for May 3, 2019.
[Featured Image by Marvel/The Avengers and Netflix/Daredevil]