The Wrath of the Weathermen
The plot: A group of EVIL WEATHERMEN (cue dramatic music) cause havoc all over the globe. The Avengers fight back against snow storms, tidal waves, heat waves and more.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: Watching Thor go up against a thunder and lightning storm he can't control would have cinematic spectacle at least.
Chance of happening: 5%. Evil weathermen. Do we need to elaborate?
The Pet Avengers
The plot: Erm. Super-powered animals team up. They woof/paw/bite/sniff their way to victory.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: Seeing Lockjaw (a super-powered, teleporting bulldog), Redwing the falcon, Throg the frog Thor (yes, really), Lockheed (Kitty Pryde's dragon friend), Ms. Lion (the puppy of Peter Parker's Aunt May) and Hairball (Speedball's cat) is an incredibly stupid, but incredible cutesy delight.
Chance of happening: 5%. While we (and probably 95% of the internet) get rather giddy at the thought of super-powered animals, you've got more chance of Nyan Cat: The Movie appearing first.
The plot: When Tony Stark is put under the thrall of Kang the Conqueror, he turns against the Avengers in devastating, murderous fashion. The team travel back in time to recruit a younger, teenage Tony Stark from an alternate timeline, who dons the suit and forces the older Stark to sacrifice himself and save the day.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: Young Stark vs Old Stark in bombastic, explosive fashion - all the while the Avengers battle Kang round them.
Chance of happening: 5%. The chances of Kevin Feige being bold enough to throw time-travel, de-aging and eradicating their most recognisable on-screen face into the blockbuster mix are pretty slim. But Robert Downey Jnr. can't play the role of Tony Stark forever now, can he?
The plot : The 'House of M' was a massive Marvel story that stripped 99% of Earth's mutants of their powers. The laws of physics dictate that energy has to go somewhere - unfortunately it went straight into the body of The Collective. A presence controlled by the kind-of-semi-but-not-really Magneto clone Xorn (it's complicated), and burdened with power his body and mind can't control.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: Our first glimpse at The Collective is a super-powered blowout that single-handedly murders Canada's premier super-team Alpha Flight in one fell swoop.
Chance of happening: 5%. Mass slaughter caused by a nonsensically over-powered headcase - all the while controlled by a character so confusing that multiple storylines in both The Avengers and the X-Men still can't properly explain it.
The Masters of Evil
The plot: Every good guy needs a nemesis, and they don't come more nemesis-y than The Masters of Evil, a team of bad guys put together to mirror each of the Avengers' strengths. While the line-up changes throughout the years, Roger Stern's 'Under Siege' tale pits the Wrecking Crew, Tiger Shark and Goliath against Earth's Mightiest Heroes. The Avengers don't fare so well.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: It may not have cost a gabillion dollars, but adapting the scene in which The Avengers' trusty butler Jarvis is tortured is pretty shocking and memorable. Jarvis may be something very different in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but replace him for someone equally as beloved (Pepper, anyone?) and you start to get the impact.
Chance of happening: 10%. Nowadays, it's just a little too cliched to slap a twirly moustache on a good guy and label them the villains. The Masters of Evil are a fun if ultimately throwaway nemesis.
The Nefaria Protocols
The plot: The gloriously, camptastically named Count Nefaria has been floating around the comic periphery for years (he's responsible for killing the X-Men's Thunderbird, dontchaknow). In arguably his most audacious attack, he uses ionic energy to turn one of the Avengers' own - Wonderman - against them.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: Watching a ridiculously designed, cape-wearing bad guy mwahaha his way around the sincere, dramatic and grounded Avengers team would be fun.
Chance of happening: 10%. Just picture the casting process - A-Lister after A-Lister rocking up to truly embody a monocled, laser vision-wielding Dracula knock-off. To, you know, really give him pathos. Yip, that's gonna be a tough sell.
The Children of Tomorrow
The plot: The Avengers was all but a loose adaptation of The Ultimates first couple of comic arcs, and it's to the credit of its fresh creative reinvention that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has succeeded as well as it has. But once creator Mark Millar left, the series went in surprising new directions. Particularly the recent comic run by Jonathan Hickman (in the rebranded Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates), who brought a mind-blowing scope and epic, sci-fi scale to the team. A newly evil Reed Richards (from The Fantastic Four) brings Thor and his Asgardian brethren to their knees in dramatic, horrific style. Gods are slain, S.H.I.E.L.D is torn apart, and America is left on the verge of destruction.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: The opening gambit, in which Reed Richards and his 'Children of Tomorrow' systematically, sneeringly destroy an entire race of deities - and de-power Thor - is stunning in its sci-fi scope.
Chance of happening: 15%. Amazing as it is, it's likely possessing of too many bonkers concepts to prove marketable to the masses.
Great Lakes Avengers
The plot: Sure, they're a joke, but at least they're a good one. What happens to all the heroes who are all just a bit too rubbish to make the Avengers A-Team? Or the B-Team? Or, erm, the P-Team? Introducing the comically amazing and almost universally hapless Great Lakes Avengers.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: Anytime they try to work together. Sure they sometimes succeed, but watching Squirrel Girl (exactly as amazing as that sounds), Big Bertha (a morbidly obese heavyweight), Flatman (with the power to go really, really flat) and co is guaranteed comedy gold.
Chance of happening: 15%. While we'd love to see the GLA become a reality, they're just a bit too weird, quirky and morbidly amusing to hit the big time. Although if Kick-Ass could make comic book heroes darkly entertaining, then maybe there's at least a little hope….
Acts of Vengeance
The plot: Really, it's a wonder they don't do this more often. A particularly mischievous Loki coerces a group of supervillains (Red Skull, Doctor Doom, Magneto, Kingpin, Mandarin and The Wizard) into working together to bring down The Avengers, Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: When the villains' plans inevitably go awry, Loki throws caution to the wind and sends a robot Tri-Sentinel to destroy New York City. Cue a super-powered Spider-Man (imbued with the powers of Captain Universe - long story) to save the day.
Chance of happening: 20%. While almost all of the characters have been introduced to the cinematic universe (although we'd like to see how they bring The Mandarin back into it), the plot ultimately boiled down to little more than a frivolous attempt to get the fanboy heart racing by combining Marvel's biggest and baddest in one mega punch-up of ultimately meaningless consequences.
West Coast Avengers
The plot: When Avenger Vision asks to expand the team roster, Hawkeye recruits an array of lesser-known heroes (Mockingbird, Wonder Man, Tigra, Jim Rhodes) on the West Coast of America. Cue lesser-known escapades, lesser-known villains and lesser-selling storylines.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: A mystical battle against demons Mephisto and Satannish leaves one of their own murdered - and another of their own heartbroken.
Chance of happening: 20%. An occasional running fanboy joke amongst the comic fraternity, the West Coast Avengers are a bit of a B-celebrity spin-off intent on showcasing a group of less awesome but just as beloved superheroes. It's hard to sell the idea of a group of second-league heroes.
The plot: Time-traveller bad-guy Kang the Conqueror gets involved with a time-spanning older version of himself known as Immortus. Kang is left with no choice but to recruit seven Avengers from throughout the timestream to fight his cause. Cue time and space-defying escapades as the team ricochet through classic Avengers storylines.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: If each era they bounce through has already been shown on-screen, then take your pick. Watching a well-known setpiece from a new POV - and with a new team of heroes getting involved - is guaranteed to hit the fanboy buttons.
Chance of happening: 20%. The amount of set-up needed to execute the story on-screen is pretty extensive. The comic came with decades of backstory that was often more concerned with celebrating Avengers history than telling an accessible, mass-marketable tale.
The plot: A universe-altering mega-story, which forces the combined psychological nightmare birthed from a Professor Xavier/Magneto battle into the open. It assumes the mantle of the super-powered 'Onslaught' who systematically strides his way around the Marvel Universe trumping all and sundry. That is, until the main Marvel heroes, including The Avengers, Iron Man, Fantastic Four and more sacrifice themselves to save the day - and are all reborn in a parallel universe with their backstories and continuity wiped clean.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: The battle in which everyone wades into the battleground and sacrifices themselves is epic. The weird, bonkers aftermath, not so much.
Chance of happening: 25%. Should the Marvel head honchos ever want to wipe the on-screen slate clean, this would be a good shout. But ruining the reputation of Professor Xavier and murdering every beloved hero would you'd politely call 'pretty polarising'.
The Nights of Wundagore
The plot: The Scarlet Witch and her brother Quicksilver are drawn to Wundagore Mountain, only to be confronted by a twisty-turny tale of magic, demons and super-powered scientists intent on controlling them both - and by extension - the world.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: The Scarlet Witch experiences the first of many breakdowns, possessed by the demon Chthon and attacking her teammates.
Chance of happening: 30%. If rumours are true, we'll be seeing the Scarlet Witch appear in The Avengers 2, so it's not outside the realms of possibility. While the plot is relatively focused, the magic-centric tale doesn't immediately lend itself to a coherent, marketable movie plot. At one point, a cow that's been turned into a human reveals a plot-shattering revelation to the super-powered twins. Conventional, it ain't.
The Korvac Saga
The plot: A pretty simple concept - in an alternative universe, one normal man is confronted with an impending alien invasion and becomes a turncoat against his planet. Through a series of bonkers mishaps, he travels to the Marvel Universe and is imbued with the Power Cosmic (an interstellar super-power), turning him into a God-like being. Cue a misguided attempt to turn the world into a utopia. Through the medium of punching heroes in the face.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: The Guardians of the Galaxy , The Avengers and Ms. Marvel combine to confront Korvac in downtown Queens, NYC. Things get cray-cray.
Chance of happening: 30%. Korvac, as a character, isn't the most captivating or motivated of villains. And with the Guardians of the Galaxy covering the cosmic end of the super-powered movie spectrum, it'd be a tough sell.
The Kang Dynasty
The plot: Kang (yes, him again) is back for more, and this time it's personal (or as personal as a robot gets). Arriving in the present day with forboding threats of a doomed world, he proceeds to take over the entire planet in a bid to save the future.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: Kang actually, properly, definitely takes over the whole planet - and wipes out the whole population of Washington, DC along the way. A rarity for the Marvel universe, and guaranteed to be a pretty spectacular sight as The Avengers are (at least initially) thoroughly defeated.
Chance of happening: 30%. Time-travelling despots will always be a hard-sell, and maybe a full-scale planetary take-over would be too grand a scale too quickly.
The plot: Imagine The Happening taking place in the Marvel Universe. Now imagine it roughly 720x better than the travesty you're thinking of. Red Zone forced The Avengers up against a mysterious flesh-eating plague spreading across the USA.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: The visual impact of a biological weapon crippling wave after wave of people as The Avengers stand helpless could be pretty devastating.
Chance of happening: 40%. While the fisticuffs inevitably come out, there's a reason The Happening was rubbish. Well, quite a few. But the lack of drama inherent in an enemy that can't (at least initially) be punched doesn't exactly scream 'Blockbuster'.
The plot: Another 'yoof' spin on The Avengers, only this time within the structure of a school that's been set-up to prevent erstwhile, potentially villainous teens from straying from the heroic track. Cue moral complexities and emotional shades as varied as the super-powers on show.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: Any time the students get confused/rebel and attack each other and/or their tutors. Fireworks explode.
Chance of happening: 40%. While the original series was born from the ashes of bigger stories like Civil War and Siege (more on those later), it's a set-up that can be moulded into a fresh origin story. It may not be as organic an origin as Young Avengers, but the moral complexity offers a truly unique approach to the superhero tale.
Avengers vs X-Men
The plot: When the Phoenix Force (seen previously in X-Men: The Last Stand ) rears its ugly, galaxy-ending head, and seems intent on possessing the body of one of the X-Men's own, The Avengers feel the need to intervene. The teams, shall we say, have a 'mild disagreement'. And when the Phoenix Force unexpectedly fragments, all involved are faced with an unimaginable nightmare.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: The epic's devastating climax on the shores of the X-Men's island home Utopia. Super-super-powered X-Men go up against the combined, desperate combination of an X-Men/Avengers combo team.
Chance of happening: 50%. At the moment there are a thousand legal reasons why this could never happen (Fox own the rights to the X-Men, Marvel own the rights to The Avengers) but it makes box-office obliterating sense to pit two of the biggest movie franchises against each other.
The plot: In a story that still resonates and has impact to this day (in the comics at least), the creation of Ultron - a hyper-intelligent artificial intelligence intent on ruling the world birthed by one of the Avengers' own - was a simple wonderstroke. 'Ultron Unlimited' is arguably the definitive tale, as an Ultron upgrade makes itself known by slaughtering an entire country and initiating a new robot army. Things get personal when he kidnaps his 'family' - consisting of Avengers Hank Pym, The Wasp, Vision, Scarlet Witch and more.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: Thousands of Ultron drones go fist and laser up against The Avengers in a gritty, visceral mega-fight.
Chance of happening: 60%. Even if 'Ultron Unlimited' itself doesn't specifically happen, an Ultron movie tale is an inevitability. Incredible, morality-free super-powers + a deeply personal Avengers connection = box office gold.
The plot: A moon-living race of genetic anomalies possess powers on an unimaginable scale. Led by a leader teeming with so much power that a single spoken utterance could destroy a mountain, they boast a Royal Family set-up with powers to match their politics.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: Anything with Black Bolt, their enigmatic, almost mute leader. Sure, the rest of the team are fun and bizarre to look at (teleporting pet dog FTW!), but seeing Black Bolt in action is always all the more impressive due to his near perma-silence.
Chance of happening: 65%. The backstory of what gives them their powers (mutagenic mists and crystals tampered with by an alien race inspired by a Celestial race of beings) would be pretty messy. But the dynamic they bring - a family-focused, edgy and friction-filled counterpoint to the Avengers and Fantastic Four - is undeniable storytelling gold.
The plot: With the Avengers officially disassembled (more on why later), it was left to a more grounded, street-level mash-up of Marvel's mightiest heroes to save the day. When an outbreak at the Marvel Universe's most maximum security prison leaves hundreds of super-powered bad guys on the loose, it's up to a ramshackle, fate-thrown-together, fanboy dreamteam consisting of Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Luke Cage, Spider-Woman and The Sentry to bash the bad guys in the face.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: The first action setpiece, in which each hero finds their own way to the island-bound breakout, and work together to stop an outbreak of some of the Marvel universe's biggest bad guys is as exhilarating as it is spectacular.
Chance of happening: 65%. It'll take the breakdown of the original team to make it happen, but there's an undeniable thrill in seeing the combination of old-school, new and edgy icons working together.
The Kree/Skrull War
The plot: One of comics' first mega-crossovers, The Kree/Skull War pitted two of the Marvel Universe's biggest cosmic empires against each other - with only The Avengers and Captain Marvel capable of settling the peace, and saving the universe before others tear it apart.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: The Avengers fly into deep-space to save a teammate imprisoned on the Skrull homeward, and unleash hell on an alien armada.
Chance of happening: 65%. The cosmic scale of it may seem overwhelming, but once the Guardians of the Galaxy are an established super-team, and the idea of a wider Marvel 'universe' with it, then this could very well be Marvel's own Star Wars.
The plot: It's your simple zombie tale, only super-powered. A zombie virus spreads throughout the world, turning even the friendliest of neighbourhood superheroes into ruthless, bloodthirsty monsters. When the sole remaining survivors attempt to cross-universes and get off-world, the potential for the horror to spread only multiplies.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: The moment when a zombiefied Sentry (Superman cipher) crash lands in an alternate universe New York - and swiftly infects/eats/rips apart every hero, villain, human and animal in the nearby vicinity.
Chance of happening: 65%. Zombies are big business right now, and there's an undeniable spectacle to be found with every recognisable icon getting their undead munch-on, but the concept in itself is self-defeating. It's hard to continue a franchise when you've seen The Hulk wear Hawkeye's head as a necklace.
The plot: Thor's world quite literally collides with Earth's mightiest heroes in a crossover that pitted Norman Osborn (he of the Green Goblin-ing) and his government-backed team of 'Dark Avengers' against an Asgard that - in the comics world - was then situated within the United States. Inevitably, Osborn begins to lose control with ultimately devastating consequences.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: Olympian bad-ass Ares (he of the God of War-ing) takes the battle to Osborn's mega-powered attack dog, The Sentry (a schizophrenic Superman). They collide in an Earth-shattering, brutal and shockingly bloody smackdown that rocks the Marvel Universe to its core.
Chance of happening: 70%. First, you'd have to get to a point where Asgard resides on Earth. A few Thor s in though, and that 'worlds colliding' set-up could become a likely possibility.
The plot: Who needs sidekicks when you have a whole new generation of heroes chomping at the bit to kick-ass and save the day? A group of fledgling heroes - all of whom are vague xeroxes of well-known costumers - come together when confronted with a threat that would terrify even The Avengers - the time-travelling evildoer Kang.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: The first volume's incredible climax, in which the youngsters almost kickstart a new Kree/Skull war, dragging in two warring alien armies, the (grown-up) Avengers and the Young Avengers in a battle to the death.
Chance of happening: 75%. While the concept may seem unoriginal, the execution was sublime, with a new generation of characters that pushed dramatic, sexual and emotional boundaries. They're also a darn sight hipper than their older cousins, meaning that when the current roster of cinematic heroes get too old, there's an instant 'refresh' button waiting to be pushed.
The plot: Invasion of the Body Snatchers meets super-powered punch-ups in the ultimate 'Who Can You Trust' blockbuster. Brian Michael Bendis' headscratcher of a crossover posited that the Marvel Universe's shape-shifting aliens The Skrulls had been secretly infiltrating Earth over a period of decades. Cue widespread paranoia, shocking backstabbings and a full-scale alien invasion as people you thought were heroes switch sides.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: Central Park is overrun by a battle for the fanboy ages, as every hero and villain on the planet collides in one super-powered punch-up punctuated by a megalomaniacal alien queen.
Chance of happening: 75%. Give it enough time for the characters to create long-standing cinematic relationships, and the ultimate rug-pull (and viewer-enraging shocker) would be to reveal that nothing was as you thought it was.
The plot: The worst day in Avengers history. When The Scarlet Witch's powers implode and craziness takes over, everything implodes. The dead come back to kamikaze life, team-members turn on team-members with murderous results, alien armadas attack, heroes sacrifice themselves and the team self-destructs politically, strategically, and emotionally.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: Where do we start? The whole story is a constant succession of mind-blowing action setpieces. Watching She-Hulk let rip quite literally (let's just say not every hero makes it out of it in one piece) would be spectacularly devastating.
Chance of happening: 80%. It's likely a few years away, but once the team has been established, it's highly likely the cinematic powers-that-be will want to rip it apart - and there's no more destructive or shocking way to do it than with the team turning on itself in such tragic circumstances.
Planet Hulk/World War Hulk
The plot: A secret cabal of Earth's self-appointed protectors (consisting of Professor X, Black Bolt, Reed Richards, Iron Man, Doctor Strange and Namor) decide the Hulk is too dangerous to stay on the planet. So they trick him into a space shuttle and rocket him to the furthest-flung corners of the universe. He soon rises up against the oppressive, gladiatorial nature of the planet he lands on, and becomes ruler. Just as he's finding true happiness with wife and unborn child, the shuttle he arrived on self-destructs, killing all and sundry.
Somewhat understandably, he returns to Earth more than a little miffed, and systematically beats the living hell out of everyone who gets in the way of his quest for vengeance.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: The Hulk's first attack on New York City, in which he defeats the New Avengers, the Mighty Avengers, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Ghost Rider, and destroys Stark Tower in the process.
Chance of happening: 85%. Joss Whedon has already rubbished rumours that the plot of The Avengers 2 will lead into the initial rumblings of a potential Planet Hulk storyline, but that doesn't mean things won't have come together by the time The Avengers 3 rolls around.
The plot: Hollywood darling and comic provocateur Mark Millar's mega-crossover ripped the Marvel Universe asunder, resculpting the landscape in the process. When the government decides to introduce the Superhuman Registration Act, a law in which all superpowered beings have to reveal their true identity to the government, every hero takes two very distinct sides. With Captain America spearheading the anti-government 'right to privacy' revolution, and Iron Man becoming the poster boy for the Government's pro-law side, things soon reach a very messy climax.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: Every Marvel hero you've ever been introduced to on-screen taking one of two sides and laying the no-holds-barred smackdown on each other. Captain America vs Iron Man - FIGHT!
Chance of happening: 90%. With the set-up of a good 10 movies-worth of Marvel cinematic super-powered costumers, it makes storytelling sense to then break them back down again. Superheroic misunderstandings are entertainment gold - and Civil War maximises the concept to its most destructive, dramatically shocking end.
The Infinity Gauntlet
The plot: Jim Starlin's early 90s sci-fi mega-epic puts arguably the Marvel Universe's most powerful weapon in the hands of a purple, scrotum-y chinned loony-toon. The Infinity Gauntlet holds six gems (known - shockingly - as the Infinity Gems), with each possessing the power of complete mastery over the multiverse (specifically - time, space, mind, soul, reality and power). Unfortunately for our heroes, Thanos is in love with Death herself, and decides to woo her by wiping out half the sentient life in the universe. Cue super-powered smackdowns.
The gabillion dollar setpiece: Every one of the Avengers unleashing their most powerful attack set at the same time, all the while a bejewelled mega-monster distorts time, space and reality to his will with a mere flick of the wrist.
Chance of happening: 99%. Seeing as though we already saw Thanos sneering his way through The Avengers ' post-credits scene, and we've already spied the Infinity Gauntlet glinting in the background of Odin's Trophy Room - guarded by The Destroyer - in Thor , it's all but a dead cert.