Surely, we've all started to experience serious Marvel withdrawal symptoms. It’s been seven months since Spider-Man: Far From Home left us on a hell of a cliffhanger, and Avengers: Endgame reduced us to emotionally scarred wrecks.
This year, our patience finally pays off with the long-awaited solo outing for Black Widow, something fans have long been clamouring for. Scarlett Johansson's eponymous KGB assassin finally gets her chance in the spotlight, with an excellent supporting cast including Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz and David Harbour.
The Black Widow movie kicks off Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), which further expands with the mysterious Eternals movie this November, starring Angelina Jolie and Kumail Nanjiani.
This got us thinking: which other Marvel characters deserve their own movie? Well, if we may, here are a few ideas...
1. Rocket Raccoon
The rapscallion raccoon, who's sarcastic, mouthy and hilarious, has pretty much stolen every Marvel film he has been in. Rocket's debut in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy was both a technical and visual marvel (ahem), with voice actor Bradley Cooper brilliantly bringing the character to life. But there’s so much we don’t know about the little guy that a stand-alone adventure would be too tantalising to turn down.
Rocket is a genetically enhanced creature (as per the comics, this is down to the machinations of Marvel villain The Stranger) who turned to crime and hunting bounties alongside his friend Groot but his prior history is ripe for rediscovery. This includes his exploits in his own 1985 limited series comic-book where he and other anthropomorphic allies fought killer clowns. Now, there’s a story that needs its own movie.
Valkyrie was one of the many brilliant aspects of Taika Waititi's superb Thor: Ragnarok, and the casting of Creed actor Tessa Thompson was the icing on the cake. But there is still so much we don’t know about her.
Following the events of Ragnarok, Valkyrie has, at the end of Avengers: Endgame, become the Queen of New Asgard but there’s more we have yet to discover. Word is that more of her story will be told in Thor: Love and Thunder next year; that movie is another pivotal title in Phase 4 of the MCU, once again directed by Waititi, with Natalie Portman's Jane Foster lifting Thor's mighty hammer Mjolnir.
Back to Valkyrie, however. Her comic book history with The Defenders and the Celestials (who may also get their own movie soon) would give lots of intergalactic scope to a standalone film – might we see this in Phase Five of the MCU?
3. Scarlet Witch
Wanda Maximoff, portrayed by Elizabeth Olsen in the MCU, is one of the oldest characters in Marvel lore, first created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1964. And while we have seen glimpses of her history there are still many unanswered questions yet to be solved.
Yes, we know that the upcoming show WandaVision will give us a new insight into the lives of both her and Vision (Paul Bettany) through flashbacks, flash-forwards, alternate realities, and Marvel tomfoolery. However, Wanda’s story is rich in history and there are plenty of places left for her to go.
Did you know, for example, that as per her ret-conned 1980s comic book arc, both Wanda and her brother Quicksilver/Pietro Maximoff (played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson in 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron), were the offspring of one Erik Lehnsherr – aka Magneto? With the X-Men soon to join the MCU, could this result in a brand new crossover movie? Watch this space.
4. Nick Fury
Nick Fury, director of Strategic Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division (“Just call us SHIELD”), burst onto screens in the first-ever MCU post-credits scene. Back in the very first Iron Man movie in 2008, Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) appeared in Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) living room to tell him about the Avengers Initiative, sowing the seeds of the eventual MCU.
Since then, Fury has helped fight Ultron, faked his own death and become a Skrull, all after his first run-in with Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) back in the Blockbuster Video-friendly 1990s. But we only know so much about Fury's backstory prior to this.
Indeed, Colonel Nicholas Joseph Fury Sr first appeared in the comics in the brilliantly titled Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos (1963) as an elite U.S. Army unit. Later, he became a CIA agent who had run-ins with everyone from Norman Osborn (aka the Green Goblin from the various Spider-Man movies) to the Fantastic Four. Could those ties lead us to uncover Fury's roots in Phase Four or Five of the MCU?
One of the most mysterious characters to have graced the MCU thus far is Nebula (Karen Gillan), daughter of Thanos (Josh Brolin) and half-sister of Gamora, (Zoe Saldana). Over the course of the franchise, Nebula's complex layers have slowly been peeled away to reveal her more redemptive qualities.
Initially, Nebula is left physically and mentally scarred by Thanos, after the events of Avengers: Endgame, she emerges as more empathetic, and her future could be very interesting. But what of her past? We know about her cyborg enhancements and her 2014 self pre-Guardians of the Galaxy, but what about before then?
In the comics, events with Thanos went very differently in the six-issue limited comic series The Infinity Gauntlet. Nebula managed to steal said gauntlet from Thanos, wields it herself to heal her wounds, and was then hunted by said Titan as well as Hulk, Dr. Strange, Adam Warlock, Dr. Doom and more to retrieve it. There are plenty of rich opportunities to develop Nebula's character in a future phase of the MCU.
Let’s be honest, the likelihood of this happening is almost zero but who wouldn’t want to see Hulk actor Mark Ruffalo in an origin-type story or a post-Endgame epic? Lots of hands up, we imagine, but sadly, the truth is that its all a little tricky due to distribution issues with Universal Pictures.
Said studio made the two standalone films – 2003’s Hulk and 2008’s sequel/soft reboot The Incredible Hulk – and they have a “first refusal” to any subsequent films, hence why Marvel can only use the character in ensemble pieces. However, given the love for the character and Ruffalo, there are definitely ways and means this could happen. Planet Hulk, anyone? Mind you, the delirious Thor: Ragnarok already riffed on this classic comic book arc, fashioning superbly funny chemistry between Hulk and Thor (Chris Hemsworth), so we imagine that's plenty of room to expand on the magic in the not-too-distant future.
Scott J. Davis is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team. Follow him on Twitter.