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It’s safe to say that Marvel Studios has a rather huge back catalog to adapt their movies from. Over the last decade or so though the studio has mostly focused on pulling stories from the Ultimate Series for its Cinematic Universe. So the revelation that Marvel Comics plans on rebooting its vast array of characters from this series could have a huge impact further down the line for their cinematic output.
According to The Wrap, the comics are planning on completely destroying the Ultimate Marvel universe with the conclusion of this summer’s Secret Wars. This will bring an end to the realm that has produced several storylines and iterations which have been used in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and by other studios too.
The upcoming reboot promises an “All-New, All-Different Marvel,” which will premiere this fall and will include an aging Captain America and Wolverine, as well as another incarnation of Wolverine that will be a woman. Meanwhile Fantastic Four’s Thing is also going to be a member of Guardians of the Galaxy and there will be two versions of Spider-Man. And this could all have a huge impact on the movie versions of these characters.
Unfortunately, we can still only dream that The Thing (who is currently owned by Fox) could join up with Guardians Of The Galaxy (owned by Marvel) on the big screen. But the new Spider-Men could result in two incarnations of the hero being on the big-screen at the same time, which is something we’d all love to see. Meanwhile a Captain America film that sees Steve Rogers played by an older actor might seem implausible, but when you consider the fact that 62-year-old Liam Neeson and 67-year-old Sylvester Stallone are still action heroes it means there is box office potential there.
The Ultimate Universe was originally launched in 2000, and over the ensuing years the likes of Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate X-Men, and Ultimate Fantastic Four were all published. Each of these editions are widely regarded to have brought Marvel Comics into the modern age, which is why they were mined by Marvel head-honcho Kevin Feige and a variety of filmmakers hired by the studio for movie adaptations. Even Joss Whedon has previously admitted to Vulture:
It's my feeling that Ultimates brought Marvel into the modern age in a way no other book did.
Robert Downey Jr.’s casting as Iron Man was only possible because of the Ultimates, as the actor’s notorious past fit in perfectly with the alcoholic, arrogant, and slightly detestable version of Tony Stark who you still couldn’t help but be charmed by and root for. Ultimate writers Mark Millar and Brian Michael Bendis were even brought on board to consult Marvel’s burgeoning cinematic universe as consultants, and Hawkeye and Captain America’s costume designs were pretty much taken directly from these comics.
More than anything, The Avengers that assembled on the big-screen were taken almost verbatim from the Ultimate comics. Where previously the Avengers had been a private club that met in a mansion, the Ultimate Avengers were assembled by Nick Fury and were firmly a military posse who gathered together to tackle attacks that threatened to wipe out humanity.
All in all, the Ultimate universe has had a meteoric impact on pop culture. And while it’s unlikely that the impending Marvel comic reboot will come anywhere near to matching that, it will hopefully still take the comics, and ultimately the cinematic adaptations, into new and exciting territory. As long as they tell good stories that is.