Meet Marvel's next gen­er­a­tion

Con­tin­u­ing its track record for strong ori­gin sto­ries, who will the MCU in­tro­duce next? Em­pire’s Marvel ex­perts make their case

Empire (UK) - - REVIEW -

1 __ MOON KNIGHT (MARC SPECTOR)

Who is he?

Marc Spector, for­mer CIA agent-turned­merce­nary, has a near-death ex­pe­ri­ence which bonds him with an Egyp­tian moon god. Re­turn­ing to New York, he adopts the iden­tity of mil­lion­aire Steven Grant and cab­bie Jake Lock­ley, and fights crime. Lots of crime. At night.

Why should he join the MCU?

CHRIS HE­WITT: He’s (not) Bat­man. A bil­lion­aire play­boy by day who be­comes a cos­tumed crime-fighter by night would or­di­nar­ily have the DC lawyers reach­ing for the cease and de­sists, but Moon Knight has enough about him to sep­a­rate the Batwheat from the Batchaff. He has pow­ers, for one. And three — three! — sep­a­rate iden­ti­ties means he could ac­tu­ally be the Ja­son Bourne of the MCU, bat­tling with re­pressed mem­o­ries. Oh, and just to fur­ther dis­tance him­self from Bat­man, he wears white. Suck it, lawyers!

DAN JOLIN: Be­ing all dark and gritty and ev­ery­thing, this is a char­ac­ter you might nor­mally ex­pect to see on the Net­flix strand of the MCU, along­side Dare­devil and The Pu­n­isher. But the big screen could eas­ily find room for him (if his iden­ti­ties are han­dled ap­pro­pri­ately).

2 __ SQUIR­REL GIRL (DOREEN GREEN)

Who is she?

Squir­rel Girl be­gan as a joke (a good one!) in 1991, but since the 2015 Un­beat­able Squir­rel Girl re­boot she’s been the fun­ni­est, weird­est hero Marvel has. With “the pro­por­tional strength and speed of a squir­rel” and a squir­rel side­kick called Tippy-toe, she stud­ies com­put­ers by day and in her spare time de­feats the likes of Thanos and Galac­tus. What, like it’s hard?

Why should she join the MCU?

HE­LEN O’HARA: Squir­rel Girl would not only be the first Avenger with more than 15 per cent body fat (rep­re­sen­ta­tion!); she’d be the first with a tail. Her gen­er­ally cheery at­ti­tude could leaven all the emot­ing, and the prospect of a su­pervil­lain be­ing chewed by her squir­rel armies is fun. Maybe less so for the vil­lain.

DAN JOLIN: Re­cent MCU en­tries have shown how well push­ing the com­edy can work, so the idea of go­ing all-out for laughs with Squir­rel Girl doesn’t seem too out-there. Although any­one who’s seen Char­lie And The Choco­late Fac­tory would agree that, ac­tu­ally, squir­rels can be pretty ter­ri­fy­ing.

3 SHE-HULK __ (JEN­NIFER WAL­TERS)

Who is she?

Bruce Ban­ner’s timid, diminu­tive lawyer cousin who, af­ter an at­tempted Mob hit, re­ceives a life-sav­ing trans­fu­sion of Bruce’s gamma-tainted blood and de­vel­ops a di­luted ver­sion of his big, green trans­for­ma­tive pow­ers. Un­like Hulk, she re­tains her con­sid­er­able in­tel­lec­tual fac­ul­ties, doesn’t lose con­trol (though rage does strengthen her) and is trim and stat­uesque rather than burly and mon­strous. She also broke the fourth wall long be­fore that Dead­pool came along. Why should she join the MCU?

DAN JOLIN: Marvel writer Peter David once said She-hulk “has the po­ten­tial to be our Won­der Woman”, and that feels par­tic­u­larly true when you con­sider how Wal­ters — a bril­liant, civil-rights cham­pi­oning lawyer as well as a green­skinned strong-woman — could work on the big screen. And the comic-book de­vel­op­ment that meant she could never switch back to her reg­u­lar self would make for some re­ally in­ter­est­ing drama.

CHRIS HE­WITT: One day, pos­si­bly even soon, Mark Ruf­falo’s con­tract is go­ing to run out. And while Marvel could be will­ing to re­cast the Hulk, there’s a feel­ing that if Ruf­falo goes, then so does the big green guy. So there could be a vividly virid vacancy soon, and who bet­ter to fill it than a Hulk who’s a com­plete con­trast to the mono­syl­labic jade gi­ant?

4 __ MS MARVEL (KA­MALA KHAN)

Who is she?

A first-gen­er­a­tion Pak­istani-amer­i­can, 16-year-old Ka­mala Khan is al­ready liv­ing a dou­ble life: obey­ing her strict, lov­ing par­ents at home but es­cap­ing into nerdy, Amer­i­can teen­dom with her friends. When she’s caught in a Ter­ri­gen Mist she be­comes an ‘In­hu­man’, with the power to shape her body, or any part thereof, into al­most any­thing, of any size.

Why should she join the MCU?

HE­LEN O’HARA: Khan’s funny, cool and spec­tac­u­larly nerdy: she tells Wolver­ine all about her fan­fic­tion (Wolver­ine and Storm in space!) while they fight to­gether, and wor­ships Cap­tain Marvel. As the MCU’S Peter Parker ma­tures, it would make sense to bring in a new, younger team mem­ber who’s still set­tling her own iden­tity and pow­ers.

CHRIS HE­WITT: She’s ex­actly the in­jec­tion of new blood and sparky per­son­al­ity that the MCU will need in the af­ter­math of the next Avengers film — and also, re­fresh­ingly, an­other ex­am­ple of the comic book com­pany’s com­mit­ment to di­ver­sity, which is slowly but surely cross­ing over to the films.

The fu­ture of Marvel, in all their pri­mary colours: Moon Knight, Squir­rel Girl, She-hulk and Ms Marvel.

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