Thursday, August 20, 2015

Rumor Has It... Union Jack in Civil War

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According to a rumor from Comic Book Cast, someone who looks like Union Jack may have appeared in the Captain America: Civil War footage shown at D23.  Is this rumor based on fact?  We don’t know right now, but I suspect it might be an overreaction to another character in a different costume (or something like that—I also saw a completely different explanation).  However, considering how massive this movie already is, I don’t see why the Russo brothers couldn’t be using it to at least tease the even larger universe of superheroes which may be necessary for Thanos to be defeated in their next Marvel movie, the two-part Avengers: Infinity War.  And what better way to do that than by introducing us to a British equivalent of the Avengers?

In other words, this article is all about speculation on the Brit-Vengers!

The Team

Marvel has a couple of options when it comes to a British superhero team (other than “The Brit-Vengers”—but if Marvel uses that I want a nickel, darn it!).  One option is the mystical “Knights of Pendragon,” a group modeled after the Knights of the Round Table, whose members are empowered with the spirits of the original Arthurian knights to battle the mystical forces that are trying to destroy England.  If Marvel wants to tease the mystical realm before Doctor Strange and Iron Fist explore it in depth (if we consider Scarlet Witch to be more along the lines of straight-up magic), they can’t do much better than a team whose members are given mystical power by the mystical guardian of England.  However, when we get into the nitty-gritty, we’ll see that the “Knights of the Pendragon” isn’t exactly necessary if they are using this team to tease mysticism.

There is also Excalibur, the British offshoot of the X-Men which is a team consisting of both mutants and non-mutants.  However, I’m going to be conservative here (as I usually am when it comes to the FOX/Marvel deal) and say that Excalibur as a team name belongs to FOX as part of the X-Men property.

The other two options I can find in the comics would both be callbacks to Marvel’s history.  The first option is the Freedom Five, a team of Allied superhumans who fought together against the Germans in World War I.  The other option, which may be more appealing, is the Invaders, the team of Allied superhumans Captain America led during World War II.  While neither of these teams is initially British, either could be co-opted into becoming a British hero team.  In the comics, the Invaders continue to fight together off and on after the war ends, and there is eventually a primarily-British team of New Invaders led by the original Human Torch.  I think this would be a good way for Captain America: Civil War to flesh out more of Captain America’s World War II story:  Cap was (as in the comics) the leader of an Allied superhuman team called the Invaders which included the original Captain Britain (perhaps along with the android Human Torch and Namor on occasion).  They even hinted at this idea in Avengers: Age of Ultron when Ultron said that “Invaders beget Avengers.”  This would also make for an interesting dynamic between the original Captain America and the second or third successor to the mantle of his old war buddy, Captain Britain.  Today there is a new team of Invaders which serves as the British response to the Avengers under the auspices of MI: 13.

So who might be on this team?  I came up with six possible characters:
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  • Captain Britain – the British counterpart to Captain America, whose abilities come from mystical sources (Merlyn).  His abilities are similar to Captain America, but instead of a shield he has a mace which gives him the ability to fly.
  • Union Jack (Joseph Chapman) – in contrast to Captain Britain, who is a member of the aristocracy, the third Union Jack is from the working class (making for an interesting dynamic between them).  For a time he was given the Pendragon spirit of Sir Lancelot, which gave him super human strength, etc., but otherwise he is a hero along the lines of Iron Man or Batman:  he wears a suit which enhances his strength, deflects bullets, etc., and rides a super-awesome motorcycle.
  • Spitfire – the daughter of the original Union Jack, Spitfire gained super-speed and enhanced reflexes and the like due to a vampire bite and a blood transfusion from the android Human Torch.  She also possesses some vampire abilities, superhuman strength, and accelerated healing.  Oh, and she also doesn’t age because of the super-speed (because… why not?).  (Note:  she may or may not be a mutant, so her rights may be owned by FOX)
  • Black Knight (Dane Whitman) – a descendant of the original Black Knight (the villain), Dane Whitman takes up the mantle and becomes a hero.  He wields a cursed sword and rides a flying horse.  If that doesn’t scream “British Arthurian-legend-inspired superhero,” I don’t know what does!
  • Blade – did you know that Blade is British?  If they want to get him into the MCU, they could probably do worse than this!
  • Albion – A bit out of left field, Albion is the leader of the Knights of Pendragon.  His powers of flight and pyrokinesis (and decelerated rate of aging) come from the Pendragon spirit he has held since World War I.

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As you can see, all of these characters (except Union Jack) receive their abilities by some form of mystical or supernatural means.  Three receive their abilities either from a mystic or from mystical artifacts.  One was bitten by a vampire; another is an actual semi-vampire (“Day-Walker”).  Even the lone hold-out, Union Jack, has mystical connections through the Knights of Pendragon.  This stands in sharp contrast to the Avengers, of whom only a single member (Scarlet Witch) has powers without a scientific explanation.  Introducing some or all of these mystically-based heroes would help to pave the way for a fuller exploration of mysticism, magic, and the supernatural in Doctor Strange and Iron Fist.

Captain America: Civil War

So how would these guys fit into the already-crowded Captain America: Civil War?

Here’s my idea:

These characters will only have two scenes in the movie.  Their first scene will come in the course of the U.N. deliberations about superhuman registration and accountability (“The Accords”).  In support of U.N. calls for accountability, the British government holds a press conference at which they reveal the Invaders (Captain Britain, Union Jack, Spitfire, and Black Knight), a team of superheroes working directly for the British government under the auspices of MI-13 (the British equivalent of S.H.I.E.L.D. from the comics).  The head of MI-13 announces that the Invaders are being loaned to the U.N. to help enforce the newly-adopted “Accords,” a task in which they will join Iron Man and his pro-registration heroes.  However, we will discover in another scene that MI-13 was also infiltrated by Hydra, as the head of MI-13 is working directly with Baron Zemo.

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The second scene will be the final climactic battle between the anti-registration heroes and pro-registration heroes.  At the beginning of the battle the Invaders are preparing with the other pro-registration heroes when two members, Union Jack and Spitfire, defect from the pro-registration forces and go over to Cap’s side, declaring that it is not right to force heroes to work for a government in which they do not believe.  At the end of the battle the Invaders are scattered like the Avengers, with some of their members joining the remnants of the pro-registration side as the “Mighty Avengers” (or something) and some joining the remnants of the anti-registration side as the “Secret Avengers” (or something).

This really would not distract from the main plots very much and would not extend the movie’s runtime by much.  If this seems like too little involvement, it would also be possible to add another scene in which the Invaders are discussing the “Accords” with Stark and his team.

Post-Civil War

After the Civil War, some of the Invaders might appear in other Phase 3 movies such as Black Panther (there is something of a connection between England and Africa, so… why not?).  However, they will all be back together for Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 in 2019.  During the Infinity War, every hero in the MCU will be involved in some capacity, with many dying or disappearing to be replaced with new heroes.

Their arc in Infinity War will set the Invaders up to receive their own movie in Phase 4, which will further explore the mystical elements of the British heroes as well as the international nature of superheroics.


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Even though all of this is pure speculation and it is extremely likely that none of it is going to happen, I really hope you gained something from this article.  I really think Civil War is an excellent opportunity for the MCU to expand its roster of heroes by introducing international heroes who are now falling in line with the “Accords.”  And what better way for them to do this than with the Invaders, a team with a rich history that is closely connected to that of the movie’s eponymous protagonist?

Do you want to see international heroes in the MCU (other than Black Panther, that is?)?  What heroes would you like to see on a British superhero team?  How can you see Union Jack, Captain Britain, and the rest fitting into Captain America: Civil War?  Let me know in the comments!

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