The Marvel landscape got a big shakeup late last year when Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige got upgraded to Chief Creative Officer of the entire Marvel Entertainment parent company. With the Marvel Television division now also brought under his control, Marvel’s movie and television sides could now finally share continuity for the first time. This meant that more productions based on and fully integrated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe – like the upcoming The Falcon & The Winter Soldier – could become reality. And now we know what some of those may be.
Over the last two days a couple of separate rumours popped up claiming that Marvel Studios is developing new live-action adaptations, mostly for Disney+. Now I have to point out that there’s been no official response to these rumours so take them with a grain of super-soldier salt. You also have to keep in mind that sometimes adaptations are officially developed, but they get abandoned along the way for whatever reasons. So it’s quite possible that nothing could come of any of these even if the sources are totally on the money. Some of them make a lot of sense though, especially the potentially big one: Ghost Rider.
This new adaptation will have nothing to do with Gabriel Luna’s brilliant adapted Ghost Rider portrayed in Agents of SHIELD, nor with the separate Ghost Rider series that had been announced for Hulu but then subsequently shelved. Both of those shows were under the now defunct Marvel Television division. According to MCU Direct’s rather reliable scooper Daniel Richtman, this new adaptation would be part of the MCU and could be either a movie or TV series. It’s also claimed that this adaptation will not feature Robbie Reyes, the more modern version of the character in the comics (and who Luna played). That probably means that Feige and co want to go back to the OG Ghost Rider, Johnny Blaze.
Introduced in 1972, Johnny Blaze is a stunt motorcyclist who, in a desperate attempt to save his father from a terminal illness, signs his soul over to Mephisto (the Marvel Comics version of the biblical Devil). Under Mephisto’s curse, Blaze is transformed into the flame-headed Ghost Rider – complete with a fiery motorcycle – when around evil. Eventually he would learn that he had actually been bonded with a demon… or an angel and he was secretly working for Heaven. Let’s just say that Johnny Blaze has a convoluted past.
In Agents of SHIELD, the character actually had an offscreen debut as the source of Robbie Reyes’ powers. Given that show’s only tangential links to the MCU though, expect this to be a whole new iteration. And with Blade and Moon Knight already confirmed, and a Werewolf-By-Midnight adaptation reportedly also in early development, the dark and supernatural Ghost Rider would fit right into Marvel’s future plans. It’s also been enough time since Nicolas Cage’s pair of terrible Ghost Rider movies to bring Johnny Blaze back to the screen. And while this is in no way an official confirmation, hotshot Marvel Comics writer Donny Cates (who gave us the craziest version of the character ever in Cosmic Ghost Rider) also retweeted the MCU Direct report, so make of that what you will.
Next up is the rumour from Thomas Polito, another reasonably reliable scooper, who claims that Marvel is developing a live-action Ironheart series for Disney+. No writers are attached yet as the report claims that Marvel is still taking pitches on the titular character.
Created by Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Deodato in 2015 during their stellar run on Iron Man, the character of Riri Williams is a 15-year old engineering genius studying at MIT. Inspired by Tony Stark, she builds her own high-tech armour – from stolen parts on campus – which she tries to use to stop some escaped convicts. Hearing of her exploits, Stark goes to meet her and decided to sponsor her research. When Stark dies during the Civil War II storyline, Riri took up his mantle and became Iron Man for a while. When Stark got better (comics!) she would assume her own superhero identity as Ironheart, assisted by an AI version of Stark in her armour.
Given the events at the end of Avengers: Endgame, bringing Ironheart to the MCU is something that has been suspected for a while now. There’s actually a script for a potential Ironheart movie already out there. In 2018, Jaja Rodriguez penned one that ended up on the Black List (a list of the best unproduced scripts in Hollywood voted on by established producers). Maybe Marvel took Rodriguez’s script and retooled it as a Disney+ series. That makes sense as it has to be mentioned that Ironheart is also a member of The Champions – think teenage Avengers, if you will – whose ranks also include Kamala Khan aka Ms Marvel, who is already getting her own Disney+ series. Instant team-up possibilities!
Technically, this also won’t be the first time Riri Williams has made it to the screen before. In 2017, MIT created an admissions video in which actually featured their own version of the Marvel character building her high-tech armour.
Last up on the rumour list for today is a report that Marvel is developing an adaptation of Secret Warriors. Both MCU Cosmic and The Geeks Worldwide have reported on this from separate sources, but neither can confirm if this – much like Ghost Rider – will be a feature film or Disney+ series. And also like Ghost Rider, we kind of actually got a Secret Warriors adaptation before in Agents of SHIELD.
There have been two versions of the team in the comics. The first was established by SHIELD head Nick Fury and saw the super-spy create a secret team of superheroes to fight Hydra. This is essentially the version of the team that was led by Daisy Johnson AKA Quake, and boasted several superpowered civilian recruits. Season 3 of Agents of SHIELD featured Chloe Bennet’s Quake putting together a team pulled directly from the comics. Unfortunately, they didn’t last very long thanks to Hydra’s hijinks.
The second and most recent comic book incarnation of the Secret Warriors debuted in 2017. It was once again led by Quake, but this time the team consisted of inhuman and mutant heroes picked from various teams, including Ms Marvel (she really gets around!). There’s also been an animated feature film produced by DisneyXD which even boasted Captain Marvel in its lineup.
Whatever version is being cooked up here, there is a theory that it may not be for either a movie or a Disney+ series. While Agents of SHIELD is ending with its upcoming season, there was talk for a while of a spinoff series. There was also rumblings that Kevin Feige was developing a new Marvel series to air on ABC which is Agents of SHIELD’s home, to replace the departing show. Could that spinoff/replacement show be Secret Warriors?
Even without any of the rumoured productions above, Marvel’s upcoming slate is already jam-packed for the next few years. On the movie side, we have releases scheduled up to 2022 and that excludes the already confirmed Blade, Ant-Man 3, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3, and whatever the hell is happening with the X-Men. And on Marvel’s TV side, alongside the aforementioned The Falcon & Winter Soldier, Disney+ will boast WandaVision, Loki, Hawkeye, Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, and She-Hulk with a few of those probably only making it to screen well into 2023. So if any of these new rumoured productions turn out to be true, expect to wait a good few years still before you get to see them.
Last Updated: May 8, 2020