Why hasn’t Kevin Feige and the MCU team brought in the European hitters in Marvel’s cast of heroes?
As early as Captain America: The First Avenger, the Marvel Cinematic Universe was introduced to a slice of Europe’s role in the beloved on-screen universe. When Steve Rogers rescued those soldiers from the Hydra base, the die was cast for one of Marvel’s biggest European characters to show up in the MCU.
Created by Roy Thomas and Frank Robbins, Union Jack has been featured in Marvel Comics teams such as The Union, MI5, and Excalibur, but more notable is his affiliation with The Invaders. His first entry into the Marvel Universe was in 1976 as part of “The Invaders” run which featured characters like Captain America, Namor the Sub-Mariner, the original Human Torch (Jim Hammond), Bucky Barnes, the Whizzer, Miss America, Android, Toro, Union Jack (Brian Falsworth), and Spitfire (Jacqueline Falsworth) just to name a few, including some of the characters from the new Union Jack 2020 series.
The Excalibur series are especially reverent among a group of certain mutants that have only begun to showcase their impact on the MCU like our iconic Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver – both of whom were key forces that shaped the events in Avengers: Age of Ultron. A popular series of the X-Men comics called House of M showcases the unexplored live-action potential of Excalibur and its characters.
However, the impact that those characters have on that side of the world has yet to resonate on the screen in the MCU thus far. This could be down to the fact that, being American movies, they rely on the more popular American heroes to carry them – something that has admittedly attracted worldwide viewers and worked like a dream.
Could the multiverse bring new characters?
Maybe all of that will change in the mysterious Phase Four – especially when Doctor Strange seemingly introduces the chaotic multiverse of madness, and when the Black Knight appears in Eternals.
The Black Knight plays a huge role in a multiverse storyline with his several character versions including his connection to the “Otherworld”.
For those that are a fan of Lego games, you got to experience the context of this world and its characters in Lego Marvel Superheroes 2 as Khang split the known realities into seven high-concept timelines across the Marvel Universe’s multi-comic-cast of characters. It was a fun concept and sometimes felt more exciting than what is being done in the MCU overall.
However, bringing these characters in and exploring the multiverse could very well change the timeline or just rewrite events to include Union Jack.
How does this all connect to Union Jack?
There was a file featured in a deleted scene from 2012’s The Avengers that references JJ Feild’s portrayal of James Montgomery Falsworth – who was actually a part of Captain America’s unit of the Howling Commandos in Captain America: The First Avenger. You might remember him helping Dum Dum Dugan in the Hydra prisoner raid or before Rogers went chasing off after Red Skull when he threw him the shield. This file wasn’t entirely relevant other than its purpose as an Easter Egg and to tease us with the possibility that Falsworth might have returned home and hatched the Union Jack moniker (and then maybe even passed down his mantle after he retired to his son Brian Falsworth). However, no reference was made to this.
Does that mean he never became Union Jack? Perhaps, but then again, it does seem like a version of Union Jack should exist considering some of the references in the MCU thus far.
Comic book writer Christos N. Gage wrote a beautiful story in his four-book series Union Jack: London Falling (illustrated by Mike Perkins) back in 2014. This has relevance because it featured a villain named Ecstasy. Why is this important? If anyone one of you Marvel fans out there has watched Freeform’s Cloak & Dagger you would know that Tyrone Johnson and Tandy Bowen were exposed to a certain explosion from a Roxxon oil rig facility.
This was a very important feat because it introduced the possibility that others may have been affected by the explosion and even created an opening for the character Ecstasy to exist in the MCU with a direct origin to the Cloak & Dagger series – after all, Ecstasy is familiar with the titular duo in the comics. Too bad, they canceled that potential along with the series.
In Falling London Issue #3, Union Jack calls Captain America and asks for his help to identify an unknown power sucking the life out of human corpses leaving only mangled husks. Rogers explains that Doctor Strange has categorized her as a villainous female known as Ecstasy, a name derived from her insatiable appetite for Cloak’s darkness which is how she draws her power.
Interestingly, in that story Rogers also describes that Tony and Peter were on their way to Washington. Now, if we remember, the MCU did something a little similar during Spider-Man: Homecoming where the pair entered the Avengers Facility but Peter ultimately turned down Tony to become an Avenger at the end of the film. Captain America could be placed anywhere in this timeline but ultimately would have spoken with Union Jack (Joseph Chapman) out of Wakanda at this time if the MCU retroactively wrote it in because Infinity War hadn’t happened yet, right?
With the creation of Nick Fury’s S.W.O.R.D. division teams like MI5, who can be linked to Peggy Carter’s influence, and Avengers there is no reason not to branch out and make more films or television series based on European characters that have a great influence and following in the comic universe. Not to mention, this would open up opportunities for filmmakers, screenwriters and production teams in Europe and other parts of the world.
MCU’s European Brand?
The biggest connection to this part of the Marvel universe could come from Spider-Man Far From Home. Fans who would would’ve liked to have seen Union Jack and characters like him introduced by now probably wondered where he and Captain Britain (or even members of the MI5 or the Invaders) were during the events of that movie. Did Nick Fury call the division of MI5 and tell them they had an agent in Prague, Italy, and Berlin dealing with the threat of the false, elemental Gods? Was Captain Britain off on an adventure with his team in another part of Europe or Ireland?
There are a lot of unexplained questions as to why there was next to no Easter Eggs planted here to support the Falsworth references in Captain America. That would make retroactively writing Union Jack and his fellow European heroes into the MCU tricky but I dare say that if Marvel’s run of Falling London were adapted you could say that this team was busy handling the threat of Jack O’Lantern, Ecstasy, Boomerang, Jackhammer, The Corruptor, Firebrand, Crossfire, Zaran, and Machete in London and were too busy to assist (like Captain Britain was too busy to assist Union Jack in his comic series).
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Wow, that is a lot of villains, right? And, let’s not even broach how Union Jack could open doors into a Bloodstone or Morpheus crossover that leads to Blade and the Midnight Sons. If you do enough research you’ll find that Spitfire and Blade have a casual romance while hunting vampires. Yes, a lot of Marvel Comics lore has made it to the big screen, but there is still a lot of what we’d like to see hit MCU’s radar that has yet to show up – be it for financial reasons or a more specific focus on more mainstream characters.
Union Jack: Falling London is one of the best stories of the Union Jack collection and, if adapted correctly, it really has the potential to kick off a European brand of MCU films and TV shows. As we just explored, it could easily be linked to Captain America: The First Avenger, Peggy Carter and the Howling Commandos as well as laying the groundwork for more supernatural plots that include the Bloodstones & Blade.
Union Jack himself is a hero of the working class who seeks justice for hardworking individuals. He’s like the very best versions of Captain America and Daredevil combined and, in a Marvel Cinematic Universe embarking on its biggest evolution yet, there is so much potential (and potential revenue) in introducing a character like him – and thereby introducing him to a whole new audience.
Backdate him with another period-set film or TV show, or introduce him now as part of the new generation of heroes; either way, the MCU needs Union Jack.
Would you like to see Union Jack make his presence felt in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Let us know in the comments below!