The table is set, the family is here, it’s time to turn off the big game, tell the kids to put down the Milton Bradley Karate Fighters and prepare to give thanks, it’s…November of 1995!!!
(Content Warning: Blood, Violence, Weapons)
In recent articles here at NerdfectStrangers.com, we’ve taken a look at some of the options open to Disney+ for their two remaining yet revealed upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe series (specifically, Nick Fury and the Invaders). However, given the current pandemic afflicting the world, the move to streaming services has exponentially grown so it’s likely Disney+ could be looking to expand even further to take advantage. One property with a great deal of potential is Ironheart. Created by Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Deodato in the pages of Invincible Iron Man, Riri Williams is a child prodigy attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she designed and built a crude power armor in the vein of Iron Man. Attracting the attention of Tony Stark, Williams received the hero’s blessing to follow in his footsteps as Ironheart going so far as to supply the young woman with an artificial intelligence made in his image to aid her. Becoming a big hit for Marvel, Robert Downey, Jr. (whose portrayal of Tony Stark/Iron Man started the MCU) has openly championed adapting Ironheart in the movies and it is rumored to be one of the few moves Marvel Studios could make to bring him back to the film franchise. Lets take a look at what an Ironheart series could mean for Disney+.
With 1990’s The Death of the Incredible Hulk, television’s Incredible Hulk featuring Bill Bixby as Dr. David Banner and Lou Ferrigno as the Hulk was, effectively, dead. While the film’s title alludes to this as being the desired effect, the truth was that a sequel essentially starting off a new series of television films was planned immediately afterward beginning with “Revenge of the Incredible Hulk.” Therein, Dr. Banner was revived and cured of his condition only to be forced to make gamma creatures. Banner would have been forced to repeat the experiment that turned him into the Hulk but Ferrigno claimed he would have retained his scientist mind after his transformations. Sadly, the ratings for Death were so bad, the sequel was shelved. A spin-off in She-Hulk was also planned to the degree filming had begun with former Baywatch star Mitzi Kapture as Jennifer Walters and volleyball player Gabrielle Reece as her green alter ego. Bixby returned as Dr. Banner who was forced to transfuse his blood to a dying Walters to save her life while afflicting her with the same gamma condition he suffered from throughout his television run. Studio executives, however, weren’t confident in Kapture’s star power and abandoned the project (leaving Kapture to become a star instead in the series Silk Stalkings). A She-Hulk film starring Brigitte Nielsen as the titular character was later put into development only to also be dropped. In the wake of the cancellations, Bixby managed to secure Fox (who had already picked up Marvel’s Power Pack pilot dropped by NBC) to produce another television film only for the star to then sadly die from prostate cancer in 1993. But, what could have a new Hulk television film meant for the future of that brand?
When it was announced She-Hulk would be getting her own Disney+ series, fans’ thoughts immediately went to Dan Slott’s critically-acclaimed run with the character combining science fiction and legal comedy while mining Marvel’s rich history. Early reports appear to indicate the adaptation will certainly borrow from this run, but rumors also emerged the series could be a means to introduce gamma-empowered characters in lieu of a new Hulk movie. With this in mind, lets take a look at some of the characters that could make their debut.
With the return of Baron Zemo (played by Daniel Brühl) in the upcoming The Falcon and Winter Soldier and Thunderbolt Ross’ (portrayed by William Hurt) role in Black Widow (2020), rumors have swirled that the Thunderbolts are being brought into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The hero hunters who played a critical role in 2006’s Civil War Marvel comic storyline and ascended Norman Osborn from Spider-Man foe to global threat, the Thunderbolts have drawn comparisons to DC Comics’ Suicide Squad. However, both groups owe much of their genesis to the Dirty Dozen. A 1967 film based on the novel of the same name by E. M. Nathanson, The Dirty Dozen featured a star-studded ensemble cast including Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, Jim Brown, Telly Savalas, and Donald Sutherland. The film presented Project Amnesty, a secret mission during World War II where the Army’s worst prisoners (including those on death row) were trained to be commandos and take on a suicide mission where those that do their job and survive would have commuted sentences. Prior to the creation of the Thunderbolts, Marvel adapted the concept for the team Freedom Force.
Marvel Studios has become the most dominant brand at the box office and with its phase four across the years of 2020 and 2021, it looks to similarly take over streaming. While movie theaters will feature the Eternals and Shang-Chi and continue the brands of Black Widow, Dr. Strange, Spider-Man, and Thor, Disney+ is going to expand the Falcon, Winter Soldier, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Loki, and Hawkeye while introducing Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, and She-Hulk (as former Disney CEO Bob Iger let loose two other series have yet been announced). It’s also rumored the various streaming television series will introduce the Young Avengers and Thunderbolts while setting the stage for the multiverse to be the next realm the company will tackle after the Infinity Saga (perhaps even setting up an adaptation of the 2015 Secret Wars comic book crossover). Marvel Chief Creative Officer Kevin Feige went so far to even tease the Fantastic Four, Blade, and mutants in the future leading to rumors of their forming the basis of phase five (though not named by Feige, rumors persist Nova and Namor the Sub-Mariner will also be adapted). It is also known the yet announced phase five will continue to expand Black Panther, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, and Captain Marvel (as it’s likely the next Avengers film will come along as well, with Norman Osborn rumored to be the villain). With what we already know about phase five, it begs the question what a phase six might entail.
Since at least the time of Marc Webb’s Spider-Man films, Sony Pictures has desperately wanted to produce a Sinister Six movie. Toward that end, the Gentleman (who organized the Sinister Six in Adam-Troy Castro’s Sinister Six trilogy) was introduced in Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) teasing Dr. Octopus, Vulture, and the Black Cat as the series featured the Lizard, Electro, Green Goblin, and the Rhino (subsequently, Webb confirmed the group would have included Kraven the Hunter and Mysterio). For the latest iteration of Spider-Man films, the likes of the Vulture, Shocker, Tinkerer, and Mysterio (whose elementals were based on the Sandman, Hydro-Man, Molten Man, and Cyclone) have been introduced as the civilian identities of the Scorpion, Prowler, Darter, and the Chameleon also emerged. While Venom 2 is filming featuring Carnage and Morbius is coming this summer, Kraven the Hunter is heavily rumored for the next Spider-Man film (as Norman Osborn is rumored to be in other Marvel Studios projects) leaving a wide breadth of Sinister Six candidates. Lets take a look at some of these characters.
For nearly two years, development of a Nova movie has been rumored as Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, has made no secret of his desire to see it made and James Gunn, Guardians of the Galaxy director, is an admitted superfan of the character. More recently, Nova is rumored to be in development with claims that phase five of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will focus around the Fantastic Four, X-Men, Blade, and Nova. Created by Marv Wolfman and John Romita, Nova the Human Rocket debuted in 1976 as a teenage New Yorker superhero in the vein of Spider-Man. Following the destruction of the Nova Corps by alien conqueror and warlord Zorr, the surviving leader of the Xandar-based peacekeeping organization in Nova Prime Rhomann Dey sped to Zorr’s next target: Earth. Suffering from fatal wounds inflicted by Zorr, Dey passed on the awesome power of the Nova Force to a random teenager named Richard Rider. Informing Rider of his new powers and warning of the coming of Zorr via a mind link, the youth fought Zorr and defeated him with aid from Dey before his demise. Taking the name Nova, Rider became a superhero combating the likes of the Terrible Trio (Diamondhead, Condor, and Powerhouse), Sphinx, and Nebula (Zorr’s daughter). Becoming a founding member of the New Warriors and one of the most prominent cosmic heroes in the Marvel universe, Nova seems tailor made for the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
When Avengers: Endgame (2019) introduced an older Cassie Lang (portrayed by Emma Fuhrmann) from the Ant-Man films and brought back Ty Simpkins as Harley Keener from Iron Man 3 (2013) for the movie’s ending, speculation ignited of Marvel Studios tackling Young Avengers. With news of a Disney+ Ms. Marvel series, Kate Bishop being adapted in Hawkeye, what appears to be Wiccan and Speed emerging in WandaVision, Spider-Man seemingly remaining in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the foreseeable future, and Carl Lumbly being cast in The Falcon and Winter Soldier allegedly as Isaiah Bradley, the evidence has only continued to grow toward this conclusion. But, who are the Young Avengers?
When DC’s Legends of Tomorrow debuted on the CW as a quasi-Justice League-lite series about time travel, the show tackled characters like Vandal Savage, Chronos, Manhawks, Ra’s al Ghul, Per Degaton, Jonah Hex, Justice Society of America, Legion of Doom, Captain Nazi, Grodd, and even B’wana Beast. However, with its fourth season, the series departed from being a superhero action/adventure to a much more comical series (which it had gradually moved toward) with a monster-of-the-week formula. Likely, this was in part an attempt to provide a reason for the character of John Constantine to become a cast member. While Batwoman is featuring Alice, Hush, Magpie, John Doe, Rifle, and Nocturna, Supergirl has Lex Luthor, Malefic, League of Ancients, Breathtaker, Rip Roar, and Mr. Mxyzptlk, Flash features Bloodwork, Pariah, Black Hole, Dr. Light, and Mirror Master, and Black Lightning stars the Outsiders, Gravedigger, and the nation of Markovia, Legends has adopted an evil-historical-figure-of-the-week again seemingly in service of Constantine. Even the upcoming Stargirl series has released a trailer with the Justice Society and Injustice Society and Green Arrow & the Canaries, which hasn’t formally been picked up yet, teased the Outsider clans. With little doubt, production of the now canceled Swamp Thing series likely tied the hands of Legends‘ writers in regards to what magic characters it could adapt (just as Stargirl gobbled up the JSA), there’s still a depth of characters the show has chosen to ignore. Lets take a look at them.
Recently, NerdfectStrangers.com discussed in “Make It So: Disney+ Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD” the two mystery Marvel Studios television series yet announced for Disney+ with Nick Fury as a candidate for one of them. Noted in the article, these series will likely be used to help generate brands that will branch into the films. With this in mind, another viable candidate could be the Invaders. Created in 1969 by Roy Thomas and Sal Buscema, the Invaders were an Avengers-like team of heroes active during the second World War. The prototype for this group was the All-Winners Squad in post-WWII 1946 which featured Timely’s big three heroes (Captain America, Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner, and the Human Torch), their sidekicks (Bucky Barnes and Toro), and Miss America and the Whizzer (characters likely inspired by Wonder Woman and the Flash, respectively). The Invaders expanded on this roster greatly adding the likes of Union Jack, Blazing Skull, and the Vision. Thomas also created other teams of WWII heroes in the pages of The Invaders in the Liberty Legion which included the Patriot, Red Raven, and Thin Man and the Kid Commandos where Bucky and Toro lead a team of fellow costumed teenagers (prior to the All-Winners Squad, Bucky founded a team of young heroes called the Young Allies in 1941). However, in the time since the creation of the Invaders, a number of legacies of various characters have emerged either placing present day characters in the second World War or their predecessors. With this mind, lets see what a Invaders series for the MCU could mean.
In a recent earnings call with investors, Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed that in addition to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision, and Loki which are in various stages of production for streaming service Disney+, seven more Marvel Cinematic Universe series are currently in development. With What If… ?, Hawkeye, Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, and She-Hulk already announced, speculation has emerged what the two yet revealed projects could be. Rumor has it that in order to make the shows ‘must see,’ an effort has been made to make them integral to the next stage of the MCU in the wake of the Infinity Saga. Among these rumors is the multiverse as the new interweaving theme and a desire to set-up the Young Avengers, Thunderbolts, and Kang within the stories of the Disney+ shows. However, the original announcement of the forthcoming shows stated their intended purpose was to tell stories for an ever expanding cast of characters that couldn’t possibly all be given the proper time and attention in the confines of the films. In this spirit, a viable candidate for such a character is Nick Fury.
With the debut of Disney+ and the coming of AT&T’s HBO Max, Viacom’s Nickelodeon and Netflix have formalized their working arrangement into a multi-year alliance. Formerly, Nickelodeon offered a streaming channel for its content on AT&T’s service VRV called NickSplat where for $5.99 a month, you could stream shows like All That, Angry Beavers, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, CatDog, Doug, Kenan & Kel, and Rocket Power. Also, Amazon Prime has been home to shows like SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, Blue’s Clues, Backyardigans, Victorious, Bubble Guppies, Fairly OddParents, and iCarly since 2013 and Philo has been host to Nickelodeon’s content for some years. The while, Netflix has offered virtually every season of Power Rangers (which Nickelodeon has the broadcast rights for in the United States) and Nickelodeon films Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling (2019) and Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus (2019). Further, a live action series based on Avatar: The Last Airbender and animated films based on Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Loud House are in development at the service. But as part of this extended partnership, more new content based on Nickelodeon’s catalog of intellectual property is being made for Netflix including a spin-off based on SpongeBob SquarePants‘ Squidward. It’s unknown what effect the likely merger of Viacom and CBS (with its CBS All Access service) in the future will inevitably have in this deal, but for now, lets examine what could be some of the content coming to Netflix.
The latest season of The Toys That Made Us debuted on Netflix on November 15th and the third installment features episodes “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “Power Rangers,” “My Little Pony,” and “Professional Wrestling.” We contacted series creator Brian Volk-Weiss to talk about the recent offering, the show’s future, its spin-off The Movies That Made Us, Discontinued, and the feature length documentary emerging from the third season.
Professional wrestling, a staged live combat-based performance dating back two centuries, has seen its popularity rise and fall over the years. Reaching mainstream media in the 1980s with the rise of Hulkamania, pro wrestling hit its pinnacle in the ’90s during the so-called Monday Night Wars and the World Wrestling Federation’s Attitude Era. After WWF, known today as WWE (E for Entertainment), crushed and consumed its competition in World Championship Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling, the industry in many ways collapsed. The territories that largely fed companies like WWF/E and WCW died and gave way to a circuit that elder statesmen of wrestling consider “backyard wrestling” while WWE reverted back to its kid-friendlier days where Hulk Hogan reigned. Independent promotions such as Total Nonstop Action and Ring of Honor arose to try and fill the void left by the loss of WCW and ECW but they lacked the funding, fanbase, and reach of their predecessors. For nearly two decades, WWE has largely been the end-all, be-all of pro wrestling, though they have abandoned that description in favor of being instead “sports entertainment.” Now, with the emergence of All Elite Wrestling on TNT and its live weekly television series Dynamite, the paradigm is shifting as WWE has its first legitimate competition since the Monday Night Wars. What more, the largest portion of AEW’s audience is made up of new fans, children of fans, and returning fans that gave up on wrestling after the deaths of WCW and ECW. With so many new people and lapsed returning fans, we wanted to offer some insight into what content is readily available to consume.