We know from the Russo Brothers that Steve Rogers will be giving-up the Captain America persona, so what does this mean for future solo films post-Infinity War?
It’s most likely he’ll take his persona Nomad and just stop using the propaganda uniform, going for something a bit more tactical and less flamboyant. There is the issue of being a fugitive, which may or may not be resolved after Infinity War. If not, it’s going to be hard for Steve to keep fighting worldwide threats without new cohorts that aren’t being chased-down by Secretary Ross and foreign government agencies.
He could pass it along to Sam or Bucky, who have taken up the shield in the comics, but they’re both currently on the run too and it doesn’t make sense for them to take the mantle at the moment.
So how does Steve continue to fight Earthbound threats without being Captain America and without the help of fellow Avengers?
THE INVADERS: Further removing himself from the Avengers and starting-up his own team like their predecessors The Invaders (created in the 40’s at Timely Comics before Marvel was formed) working on his terms and not meddling bureaucrats. The Invaders team name could also be a little less silly and confusing than The Secret Avengers.
Honestly, there are enough characters to give the team their own franchise if Marvel wanted.
- Steve Rogers aka Captain America
- Bucky Barnes
- Namor Mackenzie aka Sub-Mariner
- Joseph Chapman aka Union Jack
- Lady Jacqueline Falsworth aka Spitfire
- Jim Hammond aka Human Torch
- Thomas Raymond aka Toro
- Elizabeth Barstow aka Silver Scorpion
- Mark Anthony Todd aka Blazing Skull
- Louise Grant Mason aka Phantom Blonde
- Madeline Joyce Frank aka Miss America
- Kevin Marlow aka Destroyer
- Aarkus aka Vision
- Bruce Dickson aka Thin Man
- Peter Noble aka Fin
- Robert L. Frank aka Whizzer
- Roger Aubrey aka Dyna-Mite
- John F. Walker aka U.S. Agent
- Ryoko Sabuki aka Radiance (granddaughter of Golden Girl)
- Nia Noble (daughter of Atlantan villain U-Man)
The recent incarnation includes both Sam Wilson and Winter Soldier on the team.
NAMOR THE SUB-MARINER: We’ve seen that Marvel really likes crossovers and having top-tier characters buddy-up with the leads, to give characters who might not have solo features in the future more character work. Black Widow became the secondary lead in Winter Soldier, Iron Man became to co-lead in Captain America: Civil War and we’re about to see Hulk and Thor bro-out in Thor: Ragnarok.
In the case of Hulk, his Planet Hulk story will be told within Ragarnok, since it’s been such a headache for Marvel to work something out with Universal, who still hold the solo film rights. This might be the case with Namor’s solo film as the same studio might still have stranglehold on the solo movie rights.
Marvel’s Joe Quesada stated that the studio does have the film rights to Namor, but he could be referencing the actual use of the character in the films rather than Marvel’s current ability to release a solo feature. This could be what Kevin Feige meant as the situation being “complicated” and might have a similar issue that a solo Hulk film has. A way to maybe steamroll the problem would be to introduce him and then make him a supporting lead in other solo films or future Avengers installments.
Captain America screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely admitted to The Hollywood Reporter they’d love a crack at bringing him into the cinematic universe.
“Namor. He is kind of a jerk and has a chip on his shoulder and he is a king and lives underwater. The degree of difficulty is so high, though. Cause it could be a great movie or it could be truly terrible.”
Namor just happens to have strong connections with Cap fighting alongside him during WWII on the heroic team The Invaders, which most likely will get a modern take for the films. He’s also tangled with Roger’s villains such as Modok and The Serpent Society’s ally Krang (a disgraced Atlantan Warlord).
Iron Man 2 included a couple nods to Namor, but so did the first two Captain America movies.
Captain America: The First Avenger concept art reveals that the the Stark Expo from the was going to have a reference to Namor with Atlantis Enterprise’s underwater cities. The original Human Torch was seen in the film, another member of The Invaders.
The SHIELD ship in the opening action sequence of The Winter Soldier is called The Lermurian Star, which is most likely a reference to The Lemurians. A group of villainous underwater dwellers apart of another neighboring kingdom at odds with Atlantis.
One of the most notable Lermurians is Mara, who is an ally and somewhat romantic interest to Hulk (not Banner), first introduced in Indestructible Hulk.
Namor is a huge fan-favorite and there’s a big demand for the studio to tackle him next, if that means he has to be a co-lead in a Captain America sequel, I don’t think many will complain about it. There is also some hope from fans that the studio will consider hiring an Asian actor for the role.
He’s not the only Invader that has been teased over the years.
Jon Favreau also hinted at Invader Joseph Chapman aka Union Jack during the race scene in Iron Man 2, his predecessor James Montgomery Falsworth (grandfather of Spitfire) was one of Cap’s Howling Commandos in The First Avenger.
Jim Hammond, the original Human Torch was seen at Stark Expo incased in glass.
So what about villains?
SERPENT SOCIETY: HYDRA’s infiltration of SHIELD might not be an isolated incident, seeing the Serpent Society get it’s own people and agents within all branches of government globally could be even more scary than the events of Winter Soldier and might see Rogers have to go underground and start a team from scratch. Knowing that the people that likely pushed for the Sokovia Accords in a last ditch effort for self preservation, maybe both Secretary Ross and Zemo were just pawns of the group.
A new cinematic take could easily take cues from existing/fictional secret societies like Skull and Bones, Hellfire Club (real one), Mafia, Bavarian Illuminati and Order of The Dragon along with Marvel groups like The Secret Empire making them more than just a villains-for-hire team, but a creepy origination that’s been pulling strings for hundreds of years rather than just a handful of decades like HYDRA.
Taking cues from Thulsa Doom’s snake cult from Conan The Barbarian, could come into play with rituals, imagery and symbols instead of the ridiculous snake costumes.
Kevin Feige and Marvel held a big cinematic universe event at the El Capitan Theater in October 2014 and faked-out the audience by announcing the title for Captain America 3 as Captain America: Serpent Society, only to reveal Civil War as the legitimate title of the film. Marvel was willing to let people think Serpent Society was worth pursuing, so they might as well go ahead with a cinematic take on them that doesn’t include the costumes.
Their general intentions could be to keep hidden in the shadows or go off the deep end to possibly release something like Zemo’s Madbomb, that almost became a focal point in Civil War‘s third act if they weren’t able to land Robert Downey Jr.
Here’s a rundown of their extensive membership.
- Sidewinder aka Seth Voelker
- Anaconda aka Blanche Sitznski (ties to Taskmaster)
- Asp aka Cleo Nefertiti (mutant)
- Black Mamba aka Tanya Sealy
- Bushmaster aka Quincy McIver
- Cobra aka Klaus Voorhees
- Cottonmouth aka Burchell Clemens (currently on Luke Cage)
- Death Adder aka Roland Burroughs
- Diamondback aka Rachel Leighton (Cap’s former love/teammate)
- Princess Python aka Zelda DuBois
- Rattler aka Gustav Krueger
- Viper aka Ophelia Sarkissian (attempted to take over group)
- Black Racer aka Ariana Siddiqi (Viper Agent)
- Boomsland aka Marc Riemer (Viper Agent)
- Coachwhip aka Beatrix Kenner (Viper Agent)
- Copperhead aka Davis Lawfers (Viper Agent)
- Fer-de-Lance aka Teresa Vasquez (Viper Agent)
- Puff Adder aka Gordon Fraley (Viper Agent)
- Rock Python aka M’Gula (Viper Agent)
- Slither aka Aaron Salomon (Viper Agent)
One of their primary leaders is Hungarian born Ophelia Sarkissian better known as the Captain America villain Madame Hydra, who was the second in-command to HYDRA’s Baron Strucker. HYDRA is seemingly out of the picture for future Marvel films, so enter Serpent Society that could lead to her finally making a feature film debut.
Sarkissian also is the de facto ruler of the fictional country Madripoor, a Southeast Asia country located in the southern portion of the Strait of Malacca between Singapore and Sumatra. Known to be a pirate haven and the base for her terrorist operations, which might be an excellent location for a sequel if Marvel is able to use the island or create it’s own version.
Marvel hasn’t really given the ladies a chance to shine as main villains, this will seemingly change when Cate Blanchett’s Hela gets all evil in Thor: Ragnarok next fall. Having Ophelia as the lead baddie in a Captain America film could be interesting, as we don’t often see women taking villain roles in action films, let alone superhero movies.
Her inclusion could mean that Jessica Drew aka Spider-Woman isn’t far behind, as she might have a paternal connection to Jessica.
Ophelia’s film rights are safely at Marvel Studios, this was somewhat confirmed when Marvel added her to the video game Captain America: The Super Soldier that was directly tied (not canon) to The First Avenger. The game was set during WWII, but also featured Age of Ultron‘s Strucker.
Fox used limited elements of the character for their mutant scientist Dr. Green in The Wolverine, this was a completely different character entirely outside of the costume and has very little connection to the character created by Jim Steranko.
Ophelia happens to be one of the last HYDRA villains yet to face Rogers. Since Marvel wasted Strucker in Age of Ultron and didn’t really give Zemo the proper villainous angle in Civil War, we hope to see them take a serious look at her next as it doesn’t need to be a boys club for main Marvel villains.
Anthony Masters aka Taskmaster has an affiliation with Anaconda and the connection could see the meta-human villain finally make his cinematic debut. He’s known for training mercenaries and villains for cash, he’s also a tough character to fight one-on-one and could give Captain America a run for his money. His main ability is photographic muscle memory, allowing him to copy and master fighting styles and weapons just by watching others.
Cap is one of the few brawlers in the cinematic universe, so Masters makes the most sense to go up against him in a future film as he could potentially out-perform Rogers after a couple minutes of scrapping. Seeing governments or Serpent Society looking to hire someone able to hunt-down and capture Rogers, Masters feels like someone that could take the job without regretting it.
Diamondback could easily be an agent of The Serpent Society tasked to infiltrate The Invaders and get close to Rogers.
Rachel Leighton made her debut as part of the Serpent Society and soon came into conflict with Captain America as the group carried out an assassination. Later on Leighton started to develop feelings for Captain America, drawing her away from the Society to the side of the good guys. After Captain America helped foil a takeover by Viper the two began to date. Because of her involvement with a super hero the Serpent Society voted to execute her, but her life was spared by her friends in the Serpent Society.
The Serpent Society might make it’s first live-action debut thanks to Netflix’s Luke Cage series, but it remains to be seen we’ll see these two possible members have direct connections to The Serpent Society. Mahershala Ali plays Cornell Stokes (Cottonmouth) and Erik LaRay Harvey will guest as Willis Stryker (original Diamondback), Cornell is a legit member as Willis just shares an alias.
Other characters that could easily slip into the Serpent Society could include the following.
- Luchino Nefaria aka Count Nefaria
- Eric Williams aka Grim Reaper
- Lotus Newmark aka Lady Lotus
- Wilhelm Lohmer aka Master Man
- Meranno aka U-Man
- John Falsworth aka Baron Blood
- Julia Koenig aka Warrior Woman
- Karl Morgenthau aka Flag-Smasher
On a pulp-culture note, The Serpent Society helped influence the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad (alongside Shaw Brothers’ Five Deadly Venoms) from Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill, as assassins took on the names of snakes as their aliases, not unlike the comic book team.
I think Eva Green (Casino Royale, Perfect Sense, Penny Dreadful) would make one hell of a Ophelia Sarkissian, considering her villains are extremely intense and become standout performances.
However, she is no stranger to comic book movies with roles in adaptations like Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, 300: Rise of An Empire and the unreleased Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. WB has also been trying to find a DC Comics part for Eva, as she was linked to for the Catwoman role in The Dark Knight Rises and more recently with a rumor suggesting that she was being eyed to play Wonder Woman villain Circe.
Others who’d I love to see in the mix include Lena Headey (Dredd, Game of Thrones, 300) and Rachel Weisz (The Light Between Oceans, The Lobster, Bourne Legacy, The Deep Blue Sea, Brothers Bloom, Enemy At The Gates).
Weisz almost become the villain of Skyfall in it’s early development and was in the mix to play Talia al Ghul in The Dark Knight Rises. She has also worked with Marvel alumni Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Renner, Edward Norton and Stanley Tucci.
I honestly think this is the best way to go as it could bring back the pulpy elements that has been mostly absent since The First Avenger, along with the more political thriller edge that The Winter Soldier had over Civil War.
Titles could go a bunch of different directions with Captain America and The Invaders, Captain America: The Secret Avenger, Captain America: Serpent Society or just The Invaders.
What do you think will happen in Captain America 4? Will we get a new Captain America by then or will get solo adventure with Nomad and The Invaders?