Marvel Studios Reportedly Once Saw Black Panther, Captain Marvel, And Spider-Man As The MCU’s New Lead Trinity
According to a new insight into the franchise’s decades-long existence, faced with the then-upcoming exits of Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor, the eponymous studio had once hoped that Black Panther, Spider-Man, and Captain Marvel would fill their respective roles as the ‘faces’ of the Marvel Cinematic Universe
This now-abandoned idea for the MCU’s future was first detailed to the public by authors Joanna Robinson, Dave Gonzales, and Gavin Edwards in their newly-released book, MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios.
First broaching the topic while recounting the late Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman’s time on-set during Avengers: Endgame, the authors noted that while “he appreciated that Robert Downey Jr. took the time to say, as Boseman put it, ‘Hey, you’re here. Here’s what I can bestow upon you or impart to you,'” he had “particularly valued spending time with other members of the new class, like Tom Holland and Captain Marvel star Brie Larson; they all expected that the success of Black Panther was a harbinger for their future.
“‘Brie and Tom Holland and I were talking about it a few hours ago,” they then recalled of a statement given by Boseman to Robinson during a 2017 interview for Vanity Fair. “‘Just that it’s special. That it’s exciting.’”
However, thanks to both both Boseman’s untimely death as a result of colon cancer and a seeming growing disinterest among both fans and Larson and in seeing her continue on as Carol Danvers, this plan would eventually be deemed unfeasible by the powers that be.
“Larson seemed like an ideal spokesperson for a more diverse MCU,” wrote Robinson,Gonzales, and Edwards. “But relentless online abuse could wear down even the sunniest disposition. Asked three years later if she’d want to return as Captain Marvel after the 2023 movie The Marvels, Larson answered, ‘I don’t know, does anyone want me to do it again?’ Marvel had expected that Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and Spider-Man would be the trio of star characters leading the MCU into a new millennium, but that was no longer a future it could rely on.”
The presumptive final nail in this new Panther-Kree-Spider-shaped coffin would then come in 2019 when, during a point in time when many Infinity Saga cast members were on their way out, the ongoing battle between Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures over the web-slinger’s film rights came to an impasse in which it looked like Peter Parker’s tenure in the MCU was well and trul over.
“The future of those Marvel icons was unclear,” the authors summarized of the MCU’s post-Endgame roster woes. “The departure of franchise anchors like Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and Scarlett Johansson had already taken its toll, as had the shocking loss of Chadwick Boseman, but other MCU stalwarts were heading for the exits. The Guardians of the Galaxy cast went on a farewell tour, Brie Larson grew disillusioned, and Marvel tussled with Sony in a custody battle over Tom Holland. And Chris Hemsworth, one of the last remaining original Avengers, received alarming news in 2022: genetic testing revealed he has a predisposition for Alzheimer’s disease, which forced him to contemplate the end of his time playing Thor.”
And infortunately for the studio, as of the book’s final edit being submitted for print in 2023, its authors – like many fans – believe that this trinity-related stumble is just one of the many problems endemic to the currently confusing and uncertain state of the MCU.
“Although Marvel Studios kept teasing grand plans and exciting new characters played by celebrities, the payoffs seemed increasingly tenuous. MCU post-credits sequences once played as promises to viewers about carefully laid plans that were just over the horizon, but fans grew increasingly skeptical that they would ever see pop star Harry Styles featured as the Eternal named Eros or Ted Lasso star Brett Goldstein make more than a cameo as Hercules,” they wrote.
“But even with the endless possibilities of the multiverse, Marvel faced massive scrutiny in the post-Endgame era,” the authors continued. “Some in Hollywood actively rooted for the studio’s demise, largely the highbrow contingent who felt the proliferation of superheroes left no room for other stories in the film industry. Even in the COVID-19 era, the Marvel films were profitable—but with so many Marvel shows and films of varying quality, the brand was bruised.”
Interestingly, it should be noted that while a more bombastic summary of Robinson, Gonzales, and Edwards’ work has been circulating around the internet, it appears to be based on an individual’s recollection of the text rather than its actual contents.
This summary was apparently first shared by noted scooper CanWeGetSomeToast, who on October 15th informed their followers, “At one point Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and Spider-Man were set up as the new faces of the MCU.”
Alongside this assertion, the scooper tweeted two quotes, ostensibly provided to them by another source, which read “‘[Chadwick Boseman] told me the story about how on the set of Endgame, he and Brie Larson and Tom Holland sat around and talked about how they were the future of Marvel and how exciting that was for them,'” and ‘”[Then] you look at the breakdown between the Sony-Marvel deal over Spider-Man,…you look at Chad Boseman passing away, and you look at Brie Larson either not being a great fit or just, you know, being damaged by toxic fandom…so many factors… came into play that sort of knocked their plan out under them.'”
However, per Bounding Into Comics’ own review of MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios, these words do not appear as quoted anywhere in the original text.