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Marvel Teams We Want To See In The MCU

The MCU is king of the cinema, and its reign shows no signs of ending any time soon. People on the street discuss Thanos, Star-Lord, and all sorts of other characters who were, just a few years ago, total obscurities. Kids dress up as Captain Marvel and Black Panther. And Disney+ is expanding the MCU with reality-bending domestic dramas like WandaVision, action series like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and the mischievous chaos of Loki.

And in the age of the omnipresent superhero, all bets are off as to what might be adapted from the comics. (Nothing is too weird any longer — people know who Groot is now, for crying out loud.) As a result, speculation runs rampant, especially when it comes to Marvel's spectacular super-teams. We love the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Avengers, and the Dora Milaje, so what band of warriors will we fall for next? Here are our picks for the teams we'd most like to see in the MCU, from the most shining of heroes to the most sinister of villains.

We'd love to see the Young Avengers in the MCU

Teens in capes have long been part of the superheroic landscape. Initially, they were bright counterpoints to their mentors' adult stoicism — Robin, clad in four-color motley beside the black-on-grey Batman, being the clearest example — and points of identification for young readers. But as the genre grew, it became clear that cape-clad kids could be the focus of serious storytelling. Enter the Young Avengers, a group old enough to teleport but young enough to not be taken seriously by the grown-ups of the Marvel Universe.

The team's 2013 lineup is particularly well-suited to the MCU's big, bright battlefields. For one thing, Loki's a member, albeit in the form of a child, looking to atone for his darker misdeeds. And alongside the trickster god is an incredibly colorful cast. We've got Hulkling and Wiccan, a couple dealing with their powers and their relationship. There's America Chavez, who can literally punch her way through time and space. Plus, there's Marvel Boy, a Kree warrior with a passion for close harmony girl groups of the 1960s, and Kate Bishop, who's as good with a bow and arrow as she is with cutting a quip. Other members come and go, providing the MCU with plenty of wiggle room if they'd rather not explain why Loki is playing the good guy or how Kate Bishop can be part of the Hawkeye crew and the Young Avengers. What remains, regardless, is the team's verve, style, and unique perspective on the MCU.

The Craptacular B-Sides bring the street-level heroics

Raven's Perch, New Jersey, is a typical American town ... that happens to produce a whole lot of superherhoes. But we're not talking about heroes along the lines of Spider-Man and Captain Marvel. Raven's Perch's signature super-team consists of Fateball, empowered by her prescient Magic 8-Ball, Mize, who accelerates rates of decay, and Jughandle, who can step outside of space-time (at the risk of tearing apart reality). Together, they're the B-Sides, brought together by their con man of a manager, who also works as a bartender at a bowling alley, a sleep study participant, a repo man, and a seller of Time Life books. They might not be the Avengers, and sure, Mize's powers sometimes mean their car's transmission fails in the middle of the street, but they're looking to do some good. Or at the very least, find something more interesting to do than their high school homework.

The Marvel Universe has always thrived on street-level storytelling. We all love seeing Spider-Man swing his way across Manhattan, but we also love watching him eat Chinese takeout on fire escapes. The MCU has continued this proud tradition through characters like Jessica Jones and Ant-Man, who save the world as often as they forget to pick up their dry cleaning, and it's made their universe all the more rich. The B-Sides wouldn't just bring more of that tantalizing texture to the fore — they would also bring a teenage perspective and a vantage point beyond New York City.

The Circus of Crime could bring high-flying menace to the MCU

The Circus of Crime keeps things relatively simple. They're a circus full of bad guys who use their theatrical abilities to steal, murder, smuggle, and otherwise misbehave. They made their debut in 1941's Captain America Comics #5 as a traveling troupe of Nazis, keen to use their snake-charming, trapeze-swinging, and strongman talents to murder US officials. As the years wound on, the Circus found its postwar niche in mind-controlling its audiences into a trance, during which the Circus members would rob them blind. Their most recent escapade happened in 2012's Hawkeye #2, in which they were foiled by Kate Bishop and Clint Barton in their attempt to rob the patrons of the world's first six-star hotel.

The Circus of Crime presents a variety of options for the MCU to pursue. If they want to lean into the flamboyance of the troupe's early years, well, Ringmaster and his bright purple mind-controlling top hat are right there. But if they're looking for a sleeker take, their outing as the classy "Cirque du Nuit," as seen in Hawkeye, is ready-made. There, they operate as performance artists for billionaires clad in opera gloves and cummerbunds, their eerie elegance masking a gritty crime syndicate. Plus, who wouldn't be down to see MCU fight choreography with a Cirque du Soleil twist?

We're ready to see the Lady Liberators

The Lady Liberators began as a joke. In 1970, Avengers #83 saw them debut as Marvel's answer to the burgeoning Women's Liberation movement. Led by Valkyrie, they were a band of superpowered women doing it, as the song goes, for themselves. Except that Valkyrie turned out to be the evil Enchantress, eager to manipulate the women of the Avengers to her own ends. That's not the end of the Liberators, however. A 2008 Hulk arc saw them reformed by She-Hulk to take on the rampaging Red Hulk.

The Lady Liberators don't have much history beyond that, but what's there is ripe for reinterpretation. In just two major outings, a plethora of characters have been associated with the group, many of whom — like Valkyrie, Scarlet Witch, and the Wasp — are already present within the MCU. Moreover, Endgame's all-female Avengers team-up, in which the MCU's superpowered ladies work together to get the Infinity Gauntlet across the war-torn battlefield, already laid the foundation for a more permanent team. With Captain Marvel, Scarlet Witch, Shuri, Mantis, and all the other fabulous females of the MCU, there's no shortage of members, and among fans, no shortage of interest.

Future Foundation would mix science with superheroes

Science is complex territory in the Marvel Universe. Sometimes it saves the world, sometimes it puts that very same world in mortal peril. As one of the most capable scientists around, Reed Richards knows this intimately. The Future Foundation is his way of ensuring a scientific future that leans more towards Tony Stark than it does towards Dr. Zola.

So what is the Future Foundation, exactly? It began as a think tank of great scientific minds, including Dragon Man, Nathaniel Richards, Spider-Man, and at the request of Reed's daughter and father, Doctor Doom. Naturally, things go awry, but the idea of the Foundation is solid, and it could lead to some terrific cinematic stories. Imagine Shuri, Bruce Banner, Peter Parker, and Janet Van Dyne in the same room together. Now imagine them arguing over what building a "better future" actually means. It's not just comedy gold — it's a gateway to examining some of the MCU's thornier divisions of ideology.

The Great Lakes Avengers are the team of misfits we all need

The Great Lakes Avengers have gone by many names. They've been the Lightning Rods, the Great Lakes Champions, the Great Lakes X-Men (after the members realized they were all mutants), and America's Alpha Flight. Some of these changes were freely chosen, while some are the result of being sent cease-and-desist orders by the primetime Avengers. They roll with it all because that's exactly the kind of group they are — do-gooders who just can't stop doing good, even when it might be a good idea.

The GLA are the quintessential misfits. Its members have the powers of the average squirrel, are mysterious humanoid dinosaurs, and can heal from life-threatening injuries at a rapid pace ... but heal from anything less serious in the typical amount of time. This doesn't stop them, however. Sure, sometimes they play cards during a Fin Fang Foom attack. Yes, they stop foes from using things like "inebriation rays" instead of actual doomsday devices. Who cares? The GLA, no matter what name they're going by, always move forward, no matter the odds. And isn't that the spirit of the MCU in a Midwestern nutshell?

Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. could be a winking send-up of the MCU

H.A.T.E. stands for Highest Anti-Terrorism Effort, and its agents are out to destroy Unusual Weapons of Mass Destruction. Sometimes that means the agents of H.A.T.E. smuggle rifles in cello cases onto the battlefield. Sometimes it means taking on skyscraper-sized monsters who, for some inexplicable reason, wear underpants. But it always means acting with style, sarcasm, and surrealism. Brought together by Director Dirk Anger (who lives on drugs, 200 cigarettes, and one animal he kills himself, per day), they're unlike any other Marvel team around, and that's why Nextwave is one of the most beloved Marvel comics of the last 20 years.

Now is the perfect time for the MCU to introduce something like Nextwave. The parts of the team that are outright parodies of Marvel lore have enough public recognition to land well, while the weirder elements of their story — the Broccoli Men, the robotic priests named Father Blood Drench Robo Crush, the whole "H.A.T.E." acronym — will charm even the most cynical cinephile. Nextwave runs on absurdity and satire, and that's exactly the sort of thing that keeps a franchise fresh. Plus, we really want to see the MCU work in the infamous "MARK MILLAR LICKS GOATS" sign.

The U-Men would bring a new level of villainy to Marvel movies

Being hated and feared by a world that doesn't understand them is sort of the X-Men's whole deal. But what if they weren't feared at all? What if, in fact, they were admired and even coveted? Enter the U-Men, perhaps the most uncomfortable adversaries that Marvel's mutants have ever faced. Led by smiling John Sublime, they're a group of humans who long for mutant powers. They'll do anything to sprout fangs and wings of their own — even if it means kidnapping mutants and harvesting their unique body parts for themselves.

It's gruesome but fascinating. The U-Men aren't, actually, all that different from those who loathe mutants. Neither group sees them as people, but the U-Men are a nightmare of exploitation rather than genocide. That's just as potent an idea as the Sentinels who seek to exterminate the X-Men at all costs, but it's significantly less well-represented in the movies. What better way to revamp the X-Men for the MCU than through a totally new, totally fascinating, totally repugnant roster of villains?

The Crew could tackle real-world issues and superhero drama

The Crew began in 2003, pitched by all-star comics writer Christopher Priest as a story about men hardened by loss. Led by James "Rhodey" Rhodes, who was reeling from the death of his sister and a reversal of business fortunes, the group spent seven issues on the mean streets of "the Mog," an impoverished neighborhood on the bleeding edge of gentrified Brooklyn. Years later, the Crew returned in 2017's Black Panther and the Crew as a team of black heroes reckoning with a legacy of colonialism, housing policies, and super-powered revolution.

The Crew might only have 13 issues to their name, but they're written by Priest, one of the greatest superhero writers of all time, and internationally acclaimed journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates, and it shows on every page. Characters like Josiah X and Misty Knight grapple with institutional blight, T'Challa and Ororo wrestle with their lingering feelings for each other, and trains packed with dirty money speed through the night, deep beneath the superheroic streets. It's operatic stuff, braiding the political, the fantastic, and the emotional together into the sort of street-level story that made Marvel famous. Plus, who doesn't want to see Misty Knight and her cool robot arm in action?

X-Statix could shake things up with its team of reality stars

Marvel's mutants are, as everyone knows, subject to the terrible bigotry from a world that hates and fears them. But not every X-book has to be packed with panels of placard-toting mobs and much-vaunted "mutant cures." Some have found success in being about life, love, and joy, despite the cruelties over the world. The X-Statix take it further, into the world of entertainment and superficiality. They're a team, sure, but before that, they're reality TV stars.

Assembled by media moguls looking to make bank, the group's ever-shifting membership is largely made up of young, attractive mutants with a wide range of powers. They negotiate for image rights. They evade the paparazzi. And they confront, one by one, the fact that their glamour cannot save them from violence, poverty, and bigotry. It's a one-two punch of a concept that examines celebrity culture as it delivers superheroics, and its only grown more relevant with time. Imagine a word of mutant influencers, mutant vloggers, and mutant make-up artists. It's weird, it's provocative, and it's totally Marvel.

The Secret Avengers could take the MCU's favorite team in a new direction

The Secret Avengers' motto is simple. Run the mission. Don't get seen. Save the world. These are the heroes taking on the sort of threats that need precision, elegance, and secrecy — the stuff that makes for utterly wild superheroic storytelling. Mystical objects of primordial power are stuffed into high-tech briefcases. Black Widow drives a nuclear-powered Cadillac across an underground city while discussing time travel with Beast. It's an electric blend of Silver Age super-science and gritty spy story standbys, as unapologetically comic book-y as it is genuinely thrilling. 

Membership has shifted over time, but the group always manages to gather together weirdos and icons, bringing out the most interesting sides of both. Handily enough, it also includes a huge number of characters in the MCU, from Shang-Chi to Moon Knight. The Secret Avengers would bring fresh air to the concept of the Avengers themselves, while remaining flexible enough to provide all sorts of new storylines. Valkyrie and Black Widow, Beast and Mockingbird, Nova and War Machine — they've all worked together as part of the Secret Avengers. Now imagine seeing those team-ups happen on the silver screen.