Marvel Phase 4 & 5: The Beyonder, Heroic Thanos & Greater Universal Threats

I have just started writing for moviepilot.com and I did post this on the website. But I also posting it here.

Major Spoilers concerning Marvel Phase 4 and 5!

Alright, I know you will read the spoilers. After all, who isn’t tempted to even though one hates to?

So, here goes.

Thanos does not die at the end of the Infinity War.

He becomes an ally instead.

Thanos, though once wiping out half the sentient life in the universe, is not an outright villain. He is more of an anti-hero. Why? Because even though he did destroy half the universe once, he saved the whole of four times after.

When his mad love for lady Death ended in not so ceremonial way, he decides to become a lone farmer and sought redemption for his acts. Because Nebula had restored all that was destroyed, nobody really died and everyone eventually ended up being safe.

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Thanos then becomes the guardian of the reality gem and successfully thwarts both Magus and the Goddess and the inter-universal consuming entity to save the universe.

The Infinity War isn’t a single cosmic event; it is the second of the six cosmic events in the Marvel Universe. And technically the event that is to be shown in the 2018 and 2019 films is not the Infinity War, rather Infinity Gauntlet. It starts with Thanos’ Quest and ends with Thanos’ exile.

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So even though Thanos – The Mad Titan – was the villain of the first and second events, he was the saviour in the rest.

We will be introduced to cosmic entities like The Celestials, Galactus, Lord Chaos and Master Order, The Living Tribunal, Eternity, Infinity, manifestations of love and desire et cetera.

Saying all that let’s speculate story-lines for the Marvel Cinematic Universe post Infinity War.

Marvel Phase 4: The Secret War/Beyonder Saga

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After a universe spanning 21 films until the Infinity War, many would think there will not be any content of epic proportions to adapt. But, as mentioned above, there is much more.

I truly believe that the rights for the Fantastic Four will return to Marvel sooner rather than later. The reboot will sink. People will boycott it and unassuming viewers will not be too excited because of how sucky its marketing is.

When the rights will return to Marvel, we will have the Skrull, Galactus, the Silver Surfer and Doctor Doom at our disposal.

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Doctor Victor Von Doom was heavily involved in the Infinity War and he is a scientific, psychological and supernatural threat. He is one of the most revered and famousest (that’s a word…the Hobbits use it) villains of all time. What better honour for him than being the inspiration for Darth Vader?

But a true threat for the heroes will come in the form of the Beyonder. He was once an Inhuman (also a mutant) who was exposed to the Terrigen Mists and his Terrigenesis bestowed upon him godlike powers. The memory of his existence was erased from the minds of Blackbolt and everybody else.

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He creates an alternate reality within himself. He then becomes infatuated and obsessed with the lives of Earthlings. He throws a trap for our heroes and transports them to another galaxy; he also intrigues and ensnares the villains and eventually pits heroes and villains against each other on a new planet called Battleworld with the promise of a great reward.

He is usurped by the overly ambitious Doctor Doom who in turn is thwarted by the Beyonder and soon after both are vanquished by the heroes. Once defeated therein, he returns to Earth to study mankind and experience love. After several convoluted plots he enters a Sanctum Sanctorum and creates an alternate universe for himself. But he is confronted and defeated there as well and turns into a cosmic cube.

This could be the plot for the fourth and fifth Avengers films. Characters like Doctor Strange and the Inhumans are directly involved in this conflict. And this will lead into Phase 5 which is the Infinity Crusade.

Marvel Phase 5: The Infinity Crusade

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When Adam Warlock takes the Infinity Gauntlet, he decides to nullify his emotions and his will to be good and bad so as to be a neutral judge akin to the Living Tribunal. But, in doing so he created two sentient entities called the Magus and the Goddess.

The Magus was the villain of the Infinity War and the Goddess of the Infinity Crusade.

The Infinity Crusade Part 1

The Magus is a malevolent entity who wants to end all life for the sake of ending all life. He creates doppelgängers of the heroes and villains and goes after the Cosmic Cubes. Their working is similar to that of the Infinity Gauntlet. He collects the five cosmic cubes, incapacitates the cosmic entity Eternity and creates an inter-dimensional realm from where he creates evil duplicates of everybody else, including Thanos. (See? I told you Thanos isn’t a hard-core baddie)

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The Magus, Adam Warlock’s malevolent entity

Thanos discovers the plot set by the Magus and apprises Warlock of it. Galactus, who again isn’t an outright villain, investigates along with Earth’s heroes and attempts to revive Eternity because the entity is needed to petition the Living Tribunal, who had the use of the Infinity Gems in unison. If the Gauntlet was reactivated, the heroes could erase the Magus existence.

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After several mini events on Earth and elsewhere, the story climaxes with Quasar, the Magus, Warlock, Thanos, Doctor Doom and Kang the Conqueror vying for the cosmic cubes.

Doom and Kang approach Magus after searching for the cosmic power’s source.

The Magus captures Adam Warlock and the inactive gauntlet. They battle each other and Warlock loses the fight. Magus is severely weakened and attempts to use the cosmic cubes but finds the containment units stolen. Doom betrays Kang and demands Magus to relinquish the gauntlet.

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Coincidentally Eternity is revived and convinces The Living Tribunal to reactivate the gauntlet. A near omnipotent Magus defeats Doom and erases Quasar’s existence. Thanos enters the scene, battling his doppelgänger and distracting Magus. Adam Warlock grapples the Magus for the gauntlet and releases a composite being made of Eternity and his twin Infinity. This being incapacitates the Magus and Warlock traps him in the Soul Gem. But Warlock – spending most of his energy – falls into a coma.

Thanos reveals to the assembled heroes that Magus had never gained true omnipotence. Thanos had replaced the Reality Gem with a convincing fake and declares that he had always been the secret guardian of the Reality Gem. The heroes return to Earth as everything is turned back to normal.

The Infinity Crusade Part 2

The Infinity War story ends with the Goddess collecting the containment units and in the Infinity Crusade we find that she has created a new planet Paradise Omega with the help of the cosmic egg. She brainwashes many of the Earth’s heroes and recruits them for her army.

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Her aim is to end all evil. Professor X (who could be replaced by Doctor Strange in this movie version), Thanos and Adam Warlock join forces and plan an assault on the Goddess’ defences. They are thwarted by Moondragon and Professor X goes into a state of coma.

Thanos and Warlock are approached by Mephisto, who gives them vital information regarding the Goddess in exchange of a containment unit. They agree.

Thanos assembles the heroes of Earth and frees the Silver Surfer from the control of the Goddess. The Silver Surfer destroys the planet’s defences. Thanos using his telepathic powers attacks the Goddess the very moment she decides to activate her plan. She was determined to rewrite all existence in order to nullify evil itself.

Infinity Crusade

But she was tricked into it by Warlock, who had created an illusion in order to make her reveal her true intentions to the heroes of Earth. Thanos, Warlock and Professor X (here Doctor Strange) attack the Goddess on the spiritual plane, where the cubes have no power, and trap her inside the Soul Gem.

The heroes return to Earth as the battle is undone by the Cosmic Egg. Thanos deems that the power of the Cosmic Egg mustn’t be used by anyone else. Thanos takes one of the cosmic cubes to Mephisto to deliver the promised payment. He then destroys the Paradise Omega and the Egg, making the artefact useless for Mephisto.

Hence, Thanos saves the universe time and again and receives full redemption for his previous acts of jealous love.

This could effectively end Phase 5 and also the Marvel Cinematic Universe itself. It will also be enough to make films until 2028 as Marvel has already planned.

Let me know your opinions. I could have added several other mini plotlines, but it would only make this already long post a saga. I guess I’ll write another piece on those itty bitty details.

~ Zalysar Cuvegis/The Mad Bard

How Marvel’s Black Panther Will Bring Respect To Superhero Films

There are superheroes like Captain America, Batman, Green Arrow, Superman, Wolverine, Iron-Man…Hulk.

And then there is Black Panther.

He isn’t a science experiment. He isn’t a Super Soldier. He isn’t an X-Man. He is no Billionaire Playboy. He is no Alien.

He is a King.

King T’Challa of Wakanda.

A man who pours hot wax on his enemies and stamps regal authority.

And he isn’t no clichéd White man nor is he a coloured man living in some adopted nation. He is T’Challa. He is the king of the world’s most technologically advanced nation. He is a man who is well versed in numerous languages. He is sound in his arguments and boasts superior intelligence to his peers. He is an alumni of the world’s most prestigious universities and leader of the Panther clan.

He is Black Panther. He is no loony superhero with a vengeance or a twisted definition of justice wearing tights and prancing around running away from authorities. He is a king. And people often forget this.

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Christopher Priest, one of the comic book greats, had a long run on Black Panther. As the third volume of this iconic king of Wakanda, Priest penned Black Panther (62 issues, 1998-2003) and gave T’Challa real substance. An unmatched respect amongst Earthlings. Even the mighty Thor has to yawp and remind people who he is…an Asgardian Prince..and people still take him for granted. But never with T’Challa. He calls the Avengers his friends but is never really part of the superhero band. He never plays anyone’s tune. He marches on his own leitmotif.

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Hence, the Black Panther film will be really important to not only the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but to the image of Comic Book Movies itself. It will bring respect to the comic book industry. And we have Christopher Priest’s excellent character development to thank for.

And I’m really glad that Marvel respect the work done by Priest and in that honour they have soundly cast Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa. Chadwick is a classy actor. He knows how to carry himself around. Having been the star of two acclaimed biopics, one concerning an African-American’s struggle and overcoming of racial segregation in early 1900’s America…it is commendable that Marvel saw in him the King and quickly declared him as the Black Panther.

The Black Panther storyline itself is a game changer. Aye, there have been several superheroes of coloured origin in comic books. But have any of them really stood out of the clichés that surround their races? I do not think so. There have been Muslim superheroes and superheroines, and African-Americans, and several others….but they’ve all given off a vibe of *O yeah…we are here to fill the equality vacuum*. It is only the Black Panther who really commands true and untainted authority. Intelligence. He is a brilliant character. He is a hard act to follow, someone who is worthy to look up to.

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Let me brief you on his history.

The Black Panther comics are very gritty in the manner that they are political and social in nature. They deal with the issues of inequality, rights of the commonwealth and other matters that concern the people. It is semi noir in nature and intelligently written.

T’Challa is the king of Wakanda, a fictional African nation the size of New Jersey. Wakanda – in Marvel Universe – is the most technologically advanced nation on earth. It is the only source of the magic metal Vibranium; the aforementioned metal has absorbing abilities, also it is impenetrable. Any blow against the metal leads to the metal absorbing the vibrations and the force that comes with the impact and strengthening itself even more. Captain America’s shield is made of the same metal, acquired by Iron Man’s father Howard Stark, albeit in questionable circumstances. It is also the same metal that the evil AI Ultron is made of.

Apart from being a mine for Vibranium, Wakanda boasts technological advancement in several aspects of science, medicine, security and engineering. Wakandan engineers are pure geniuses. Wakanda is respected and feared all over the world…it is always hidden from foreigners…just a wee less than Attilan…and has a tight foreign policy.

The people of Wakanda do not trust foreigners easily….and rightly so. They say the outside world is corrupted beyond repair and has not only forgotten basic morality but has also sadly forsaken humanity. They like to keep their country a safe haven for good will. Captain America loves it there.

T’Challa was crowned when he was just 14. His father T’Chaka died at the hands of Ulysses Klaw, T’Challa’s arch-nemesis played by Andy Serkis of Gollum/Smeagol fame in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

T’Challa had received super strength, agility and immensely sharp senses through the consumption of a rare flower’s extracts. He was also anointed leader of the Panther clan, a spiritual and military faction of Wakanda, revered by one and all therein.

Hence, he has no superhero costume. The cat-suit he wears is a ceremonial garb and his name Black Panther is a title bestowed unto him by the sacred Panther Spirits.

T’Challa is a calculating man; he is a philanthropist, a scientist, an engineer, a martial artist, and a man boasting an I.Q equal to Sherlock Holmes. He is a clairvoyant solely through practice. He foresees politics and danger much before it is executed.

He is uncompromising in his values. He is a man who is all about staying true to his values and ethics. He is focused, resolute and unwavering.

He is often unrestrained when he puts his mind to something. He never issues an apology for controversial decisions that need to be taken in times of turmoil. He looks to the greater good, always counting potential casualty.

Such a hero…a king of an African nation unspoilt by any invasion from the west, a man whose nation stands on its own feet with no aid from any outside source. A hero who needn’t run away or hide from any authority; a man who isn’t an alien to earth, a man who is someone from amongst us yet superior.

boseman1-the-black-panther-chadwick-boseman-speaks He is a hero movie-goers do not need, but a hero we all truly deserve. It will be a delight to see Chadwick Boseman deal with the likes of the determined loyalist Hunter, the looney psychopathic schizophrenic murdering usurper Achebe and his arch nemesis, foe of his kin, slayer of the king, robber of his father’s soul, treacherous ambitious selfish man of heartless science: Ulysses Klaw.

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And aye…it will be a lot of fun to see our very dear Mister Ross too. (I smiled). Ross is the narrator of Black Panther’s adventures and exploits in the comic books written by Christopher Priest. He is a White House representative, an Oxford alumni who is a wunderkid, a strong lawyer…but also a geeky, nerdy, half shy-half cocky happy go lucky doof, a personal ambassador and representative of the United States to King T’Challa…and a great, loyal and adorable friend. He is Peter Parker with an acute angle. I cannot wait to see who is cast in that particular role. He is will be the comedy catalyst for the grim and rarely smiling T’Challa. Marvel films need to have comedy as must…and he is that doofus sidekick who will provide us with a ton of that.

Whatever storyline or storylines are used as inspirations for the live-action adaptation, it will be revolutionary. It is a shame that I need to wait till 2017 for the film. So long…so very long to wait.

~ Zalysar Cuvegis

Marvel’s Inhumans Movie Casting: Black Bolt

When Kevin Feige announced the roster of Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 3, I rocketed up to Kree and returned seeing The Inhumans title. There is nothing bigger in this Marvel Cinematic Universe than the adaptation of the heavily underrated yet supremely awesome The Inhumans Comics.

The Inhumans are the most ancient race on planet Earth, speculated ancestors of the X-Men, and spawns of Kree Genetic Experiments. They are a population of 4000 living in the City-State of Attilan, currently on the blue side of the moon. If you were wowed by the X-Men, then these special humans will take you off the planet. Being my favourite comic series from Stan Lee, I cannot emphasize the importance of this adaptation.

As it is set to release in 2018, I am starting my own little campaign to promote my preferred casting choices for the film’s protagonists.

In my first post I focused on Lady Medusa and now I continue with His Majesty Black Bolt.

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A Brief of Black Bolt 

Blackagar Boltagon – commonly known as Black Bolt – is the king of the Inhumans and a superhero who shrouds his unrelenting power in meditative silence. He is not too popular amongst those outside ultimate Marveldom, for reasons I still cannot deduce.

Blackagar Boltagon The Black Bolt

Blackagar Boltagon The Black Bolt

He exercises sovereignty over electrons, manipulating them at his will. He wields within his unassuming throat a force so devastating that at his full strength his single scream can destroy planets in its wake. And his cries are enough to sunder the earth and crumble mountains. His whisper can rock a ginormous battleship.

His hypersonic scream is the reason why he meditates every night to make sure he doesn’t utter a sigh in his sleep. His greatest strength – feared by one and all in the universe – is also his vulnerability. Afraid of his nihilistic speech, Blackbolt never speaks and is at caution at all times. He cannot laugh at a joke, he cannot cry, he cannot sneeze, he cannot cough. He is doomed to remain in absolute silence. And this is what makes him so great – his sacrifice.

His electron manipulation also grants him otherworldly powers apart from hypersonic scream. His terrigen-mist induced physique is abnormally strong – even for Inhumans. His reflexes, his durability, his strength and stamina; his agility and his speed; his concussive blasts…they are way beyond the likes of super powered Inhumans.

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An organic mechanism in his brain’s speech center enables him to harness electrons in the very atmosphere. His quasi-sonic scream is one such effect.

The antenna – which looks like a fork – is worn on his forehead and helps him channel his powers in various ways. He can channel them inwards and enhance his strength and speed, can render himself immune to telepathic manipulation and focus the same through his arms to unleash concussive blasts.

He can concentrate electrons into anti-electrons and travel at speeds up to 500 miles per hour without slowing down for upto 6 hours – protected by anti-graviton force field. This gave him the title Black Bolt.

He can also create impenetrable force fields and and manifest interaction fields that are able enough to be traversed upon successfully.

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He is wise in his silence and can communicate semi telepathically with his kin – the royals, primarily with his lover and queen Medusa…who is his sole herald to his courtiers, his commonwealth and everyone else.

Inhuman Lovers

Inhuman Lovers

He has been aided the most by his unquestioning and faithful wife Medusa. They are a romance ancient and pure and one that extends beyond the norm. He has also been hindered on several occasions by his brother and arch-nemesis Maximus the Mad.

Black Bolt has been undefeated in battle and has brought down the likes of Apocalypse, Thanos, The Hulk. He is known to surrender to his foes on several occasions for the sake of sparing everyone else from his true wrath.

The Scream of Death

The Scream of Death

So, here is my list of actors who could wear the darkling garb of Blackagar Boltagon and reign over the Inhumans in the upcoming film. I am excluding Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Black Bolt from the list because he is cast as Baron Mordo in the upcoming Doctor Strange film.

I list the below mentioned 4 actors according to preference.

  1. Alexander Skarsgård
  2. Alex O’Loughlin
  3. Garrett Hedlund
  4. Jensen Ackles
Contenders to the Throne

Contenders to the Throne

Alexander Skarsgård

alexander-skarsgard-covers-mens-journal-october-2011-02Extremely popular with the ladies for his role in the HBO series True Blood, Alexander son of Stellan Skarsgård is my first choice for the role of the Silent King. Standing tall at 6 feet and 4 1/2 inches, and sporting an enviable physique, he is fit to tower over his peers and foes as Blackagar.

He also has the jawline and extremely emotive eyes for the role.

But the real reason why he is my number one choice is because of his brother Gustav Skarsgård, who plays Floki in the History Channel drama The Vikings. tumblr_lzj2t0Kqpa1qicd2n

Gustav Skarsgård is my favourite for the role of Maximus Boltagon, the antagonist of the Inhumans series. Gustav plays the role of a mad, cunning, devilish genius as Floki in the Vikings…similar to Maximus in the Inhumans.

Wouldn’t it be delightful to watch Alexander and Gustav go against each other as brothers in the Inhumans? They can pull off the chemistry in the most natural of ways due to their real blood bond.

Alex O’Loughlin

Alex-OLoughlin-CelebHealthy_comThe beefy Australian actor is known for his Cop role in the series Hawaii Five-0 and also for the film August Rush. But again, he is relatively unknown yet a great choice for the role.

At 6 feet and 1 inches, his physique and features match those of Black Bolt and his role as a cop has him accustomed to action roles. I’d keep him in the shortlist if I were the casting director.

Garrett Hedlund

garrett-hedlundMy second choice for the role is Garrett Hedlund. He has been cast as James Hook in the upcoming Hugh Jackman adaptation of Peter Pan titled ‘Pan‘.

He is 6 feet and 2 inches tall and sports a chiselled jawline and has a face too popular with the ladies. His acting chops are great as well and he is not a newcomer to action oriented roles playing Patroclus in Troy and Sam Flynn in Tron: Legacy.

Being a relatively unpopular face, he would also help give Black Bolt his own identity rather than overwhelming the role with utmost popularity which is the case with most casting suggestions for Black Bolt.

Jensen Ackles

The CW Network's 2014 Upfront PresentationThe most popular actor in this list, Jensen Ackles is too famous for playing Sam Winchester in the television series Supernatural. Once again a 6 feet plus tall actor with features similar to Black Bolt, he is the most talented of the lot in this list as well.

He was rumoured to play the Dark Knight in the upcoming Mega film Batman vs Superman before Ben Affleck was given the role. It is high time he plays the lead in a big name franchise; and with Supernatural likely to come to an end in the next couple of years, he will have the free time to be the King of the Inhumans.

Let’s admit, we all want to see him as a superhero.

Next up is the brother of Blackagar: Maximus the Mad.

 ~ Zalysar Cuvegis