The Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase 3 will reach its climax with Avengers: Infinity War, and while that film is still weeks away, fans are already looking toward the future, particularly toward Phase 4. What will happen in Phase 4 is anyone’s guess. But I’d like to posit my theory. My guess — or rather, my personal hope — is that the stars are aligning to bring Marvel’s Secret Warriors from the animated world to the live-action MCU.
Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors is an animated film coming out later this year, featuring an updated version of one of Nick Fury’s secret superhero teams. Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors will feature a diverse range of young teens, including Squirrel Girl, America Chavez, Ms. Marvel, Spider-Gwen, Inferno, Patriot, and Quake. The group itself is spearheaded by Captain Marvel, and it’s Captain Marvel that makes the group’s potential place in the MCU interesting.
Captain Marvel, aka Carol Danvers, is joining the MCU with a solo movie that has Brie Larson in the title role. The film is already a vital one for the MCU, as it’s the first time a female superhero will headline her own film. It goes without saying that this milestone is long overdue. But Captain Marvel’s importance to the MCU might be greater than we realize, as it seems as if Captain Marvel is the film that will not only bridge the gap between Phase 3 and Phase 4, but will set the tone for the entirety of Phase 4. If part of Carol’s storyline in Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors is spearheading a young group of teen superheroes, why not bring the Secret Warriors to the MCU? Besides, the franchise is already making room for its next generation.
It’s clear that after Avengers: Infinity War, the Avengers as we know them will be no more. With the current group of superheroes in a state of disarray and grief (since we know someone or multiple people won’t make it out of the skirmish with Thanos alive), there will be space for a new group of superheroes to take the lead. And with the vacuum needing to be filled, what reason does Marvel have for not giving the teenagers of the franchise a chance? Enter Peter Parker and Shuri.
Peter Parker has been one of the greatest things about the MCU, and his biggest contribution to the franchise, aside from entertaining us in the film Spider-Man: Homecoming, has been his youth. He has invigorated the entire franchise with his zest and wide-eyed admiration for his fellow superheroes. He also gives younger fans a character with whom they can better identify, since Peter is not just a superhero, but a regular high school kid with the same relationship and interpersonal woes as them. Black Panther’s Shuri has also brought new life to the MCU, with her smarts, her quick wit, and her hilarious depth of memes (I mean, "What are those?" had practically fallen out of modern meme lexicon until Shuri decided to use it to poke fun at T’Challa).
Some people have suggested that perhaps Shuri could become the MCU’s version of Ironheart due to her ability to craft tech that surpasses Tony Stark’s inventions. I’m not really about that idea personally, since it inadvertently makes the assumption that black girls are interchangeable. Besides, Riri Williams has her own storyline and she should be able to tell it herself.
But what I do agree with is that Shuri is definitely in the running to become a superhero in her own right, especially since she does become the next Black Panther and the most powerful being of all in Wakanda, the Aja-Adanna in the comics. My thought is that maybe she gets the chance to flex her superhero abilities along with Spider-Man at some point in the future, and with Captain Marvel in the mix, possibly acting as their mentor, we’re already halfway there towards the MCU’s own version of the new Secret Warriors.
Two characters from Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors have already made the jump from the page to the screen, furthering the case for an MCU version of a Captain Marvel-led squad of teens. Squirrel Girl, aka Doreen Allene Green, is getting the live-action treatment for television, bringing her one step closer to the MCU. The character will be played by Milana Vayntrub in the upcoming Freeform action-comedy New Warriors, a show that could provide the template for how the Secret Warriors could be woven into the MCU.
Quake, aka Daisy Johnson might be the strongest argument for a live-action Secret Warriors arc. Daisy has been played by Chloe Bennet in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. since the show’s inception in 2013, and her character is not only prominent in the new Secret Warriors animated film, but she has also been one of the leaders of the 2017 Secret Warriors comic book series, which also featured Ms. Marvel, aka Kamala Khan. Bennet’s character has been used to bridge the gap between the earthly FBI-mode of superheroism found in S.H.I.E.L.D. and the more interstellar, intergalactic, psychedelic superheroism found with the Inhumans. If Marvel decided to bring the new iteration of Secret Warriors to the MCU, Daisy could prove invaluable as a character that once again bridges the gap between the familiar and the new.
Another element that gives credence to the rise of an MCU Secret Warriors: the addition of Lee Pace’s Ronan the Accuser to Captain Marvel. Pace’s return sets the stage for Carol to act as Earth’s savior during the Kree and Skrull war. But could Pace’s return also pave the way for us to see a live-action version of Hala the Accuser? Not only do the Kree play a major part in Captain Marvel, but they also play a big role in Secret Warriors, with Hala the Accuser being one of the main villains. If Phase 4 follows the playbook I’ve set out, then it could be possible that we’d see Hala the Accuser at some point, further establishing a platform for Secret Warriors to make its jump from animation to live-action.
There are also other characters that could possibly be brought in to create a Secret Warriors that makes sense to the MCU, such as Karnak, one of the members of the 2017 Secret Warriors comic book series. Karnak has already been portrayed in the live-action Inhumans TV series by Ken Leung, and seeing how he’s already got the character down pat, it would only be too easy to write the character in a way that he’d fit in with the cinematic universe.
Lunella Lafayette aka Moon Girl and her partner Devil Dinosaur, also members of the 2017 Secret Warriors series, are coming to TV in animated form thanks to Laurence Fishburne. The animated series could pave the way for Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur to become live-action superheroes, especially since Lunella deduced that the Nightstone, which opened up the vortex for Devil Dinosaur to jump to New York, is of Kree origin. It also goes without saying that Marvel would have to figure out a way for America and Kamala to come on board, since they’re not only Secret Warriors, but they’re also comic book characters with a devoted fanbase.
Phase 4 is rife with possibilities, and with Captain Marvel starting things off, it could be very likely that we’ll see her try to wrangle a couple of strong-headed teens in the future.