Last weekend, we looked at which characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe were worthy of their own spinoff. In this week’s installment of Murphy’s Team-Up, we take a look at one thing we’d all change about the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Dalbin: I would change the order of the films to represent a more linear and chronological release and utilize the Marvel One-Shots to fill in some gaps. Captain America: First Avenger would’ve been first, then Captain Marvel, then maybe a Black Panther prequel with King T’Chaka as the protector of Wakanda. Maybe Guardians of the Galaxy takes place much earlier in the regular timeline, with an accompanying One-Shot showing Peter being taken and groomed by Yondu.
Marvel Studios has done an impressive job handling all the plates in the air, but there have been some small missteps in the canon: the Incredible Hulk end-credits scene comes to mind, as well as the revelation that Odin had a fake Infinity Gauntlet in his treasure room. A more streamlined narrative may have avoided those while utilizing a different medium to support the stories being told.
Anthony Canton III: If there was one thing I’d change in the MCU I’d keep Ultron around. What if? opened up an interesting door involving the multiverse and Ultron’s potential to be a lasting villain. One of the issues in superhero movies generally run into is villains normally die. Even the most compelling villains tend to hit the dirt and while there are good logistical reasons for it we need some more Zemo types in our lives. Bring Ultron back, have him show up again and make him a more significant threat than he actually was. Change that, and you always have something you can go back to. It can be in different ways too, we have time travel and the multiverse. More Ultron means more fun.
If I could go back and change one thing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it would have to be turning the time travel approach used in Avengers: Endgame from the Multiverse Theory to the Fixed Timeline theory. The Multiverse Theory means, as its name states, that by traveling in time you create bifurcations in the time stream, making it branch out into new, separate timelines. Just like we’ve all seen it explained in Loki. Even if it all ended up laying the groundwork for the aforementioned Loki series, it has led to a convoluted mess we’ll explore more of in Phase Four.
Had Marvel Studios used the Fixed Timeline theory, it would ask for a more clever way of dealing with traveling back in time. This is because the actions of the time travelers would have already taken place in the previous movies, and so these would have to be retrofitted onto those scripts’ gaps. It would also give the Infinity Saga a bit more closure, instead of trying to get ahead of itself in setting up what would come next. The Multiverse could wait, as there were many possibilities to still have it come to fruition down the line, without having to compromise the ending of a 23-movie-long overarching story.
Mary Maerz: I always wish they had found some way to adapt Demon in a Bottle for Tony. I know why the studio did not do that, and I think the order of films currently could have made that extra tricky, but they did try and put some mental health elements in Iron Man 3—and they hinted at his possible problem in Iron Man 2. If you did everything to set up Demon in a Bottle in Iron Man 3, then Age of Ultron and his role in it could have been the big moment where it all comes to a head, considering he really screwed the pooch there. It would also explain some of his significant character growth and maturity between Age of Ultron and Civil War, where he seems like he had to sit with himself and figure out what he’s doing with his life anyway. Considering we had sort of less/sporadic character development for him after 2013, it could have given his arc some real punch in Phase 2-ish and let the results play out naturally in Phase 3.
Nathan Miller: My use of time travel to change the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe would be more meta than changing something within the story-universe. I would have decision-making executives in charge of greenlighting early Marvel films give the go-ahead to the early projects Kevin Feige and team wanted to make in the mid-2000s. It would have been amazing to have had films centered on Shang-Chi, Black Widow, Black Panther, Cloak & Dagger and Doctor Strange in Phase One. It’s fascinating to imagine how different the MCU might look in that context!
Hunter Radesi: If I had the power to alter the cinematic Marvel timeline and change one thing, I would make Peter Parker a protégé of Steve Rogers instead of Tony Stark. I typically tend to stay away from this topic, as I truly love the version of Tom Holland’s web-slinger that we got. However, I always felt that Steve’s values were better suited for a young Parker who may have needed to hear the “plant yourself like a tree” speech at that point in his life.