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Which filmmakers could Marvel tap next to join their cinematic universe?

HOLLYWOOD HEROES™: An interesting little bit of trivia caught my attention a few days ago. Apparently, at one point in the recent past, Marvel came to Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass to talk about making a film for them. The Duplass Brothers making something for the Marvel Cinematic Universe? On the surface, it seems silly, but the MCU is now filled with work by directors who you wouldn’t normally peg for making superhero movies (Ryan Coogler and Taika Waititi recently, and even James Gunn previously). That got me thinking. Who else could we see make the somewhat unusual leap and turn in a comic book flick for the company? Well, I have some ideas/suggestions to share.

So far, the MCU has gone in some very interesting directions, in terms of who Kevin Feige has opted to tap for director’s chairs. Feige has, in recent years, looked to surprisingly vibrant choices. He began with Kenneth Branagh, Jon Favreau, Joe Johnston, and Louis Leterrier, though once he tapped Joss Whedon, almost exclusively the subsequent filmmakers have been somewhat idiosyncratic (aside from Alan Taylor, I suppose). Unlike the James Bond franchise, where much of their glory days have been in the hands of workmanlike filmmakers, the MCU has gone above and beyond with names you’d never expect to be handling giant tentpoles.

Take a look at the complete list of who the MCU has hired at this point:

Shane Black
Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck
Kenneth Branagh
Ryan Coogler (about to be times two, if all goes well)
Scott Derrickson
Jon Favreau (times two)
James Gunn (times two, with a third on the horizon)
Joe Johnstone
Louis Leterrier
Peyton Reed (times two)
Anthony Russo and Joe Russo (times three)
Alan Taylor
Taika Waitit (hopefully going to be times two)
Jon Watts (about to be times two)

What you can see from the list of Marvel Cinematic Universe veterans is that they solidly shoot for a certain type of up and comer. They do occasionally flirt with Academy Award winners, but they’re more likely to look for someone who’s got their best work ahead of them, as opposed to a current Oscar nominee. You hear rumors of a Tom Hooper, for example, who was at least approached at one point to helm Iron Man 3, but the type who gets the gig is interestingly more along the lines of Shane Black (who made that second Iron Man sequel). As much as it’s a controlled environment, with Feige truly in charge, they do have a taste for auteurs.

Here now are a solid two dozen names I hope at least get asked about joining the MCU going forward:

Lenny Abrahamson
Amma Asante
Maggie Betts
Frank Darabont
Drake Doremus
Kelly Fremon Craig
Deniz Gamze Erguven
Ted Geoghegan
David Gordon Green
Debra Grankik
Brett Haley
Tom Hooper
Barry Jenkins
Duncan Jones
Aaron Katz
Bart Layton
Sebastián Lelio
Jonathan Levine
David Robert Mitchell
Angela Robinson
Eva Vives
Max Winkler
Elizabeth Wood
Chloe Zhao

Looking at those 24 names, you can actually see a bunch that Marvel has already spoken with. The aforementioned Hooper, but also Amma Asante, Maggie Betts, Angela Robinson, Elizabeth Wood, and Chloe Zhao. The ladies, aside from Wood (who was in conversations at one point to do Captain Marvel), are currently among the candidates for a solo Black Widow film. This is all just guesswork though. In the years to come, look for a diverse group of directors to helm the next phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Going by who Feige has chosen so far, the MCU will undoubtedly be in very good hands…

Stay tuned to see who ends up joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the years to come!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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