Lee impacted millions of people around the world with his imagination. (Illustration by Ben Miller, Towson University)
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During his lifetime, even Lee was amazed with how popular the MCU had become.

Two weeks ago, a true superhero died. He gave people a countless number of stories to believe in. He helped create characters that people have known to love. His name was Stan Lee.

The late Marvel writer passed away on Nov. 12 due to a battle with pneumonia. While many have continued to honor his life, some have been curious as to what will happen in the future for Marvel.

Before his passing, Lee wanted the comic-book adaptations to be diverse with their characters and with their storytelling. Many applauded Marvel for releasing “Black Panther” in today’s world. Not a lot of people expected Disney to spend all that money for an entirely African-American cast; after all, it’s never been done before. But the odds were in their favor; “Black Panther” grossed over $1.3 billion worldwide.

In the future, there’s a possibility that Marvel will harness the diversity expectations that they created with “Black Panther.” “Captain Marvel” is already making strides and could have the potential to be bigger than DC’s “Wonder Woman.” There are also several Asian and Hispanic Marvel Comic characters that could hopefully make the big screen within the next decade.

Kamala Khan, better known as Ms. Marvel in the comics, is a Pakistani-American teen who could possibly have her own film soon. Even Cindy Moon, known as Silk, is another female Asian who could possibly be in an upcoming Spider-Man film. There are dozens of diverse characters in the comics that are just waiting to get into all the film action.

Currently, Marvel Studios has seven films with set release dates over the next two years, a list that includes “Captain Marvel,” “Dark Phoenix” and “The New Mutants.” In the next few years, we can also expect a solo “Black Widow” film, as well as another “Guardians of the Galaxy” and a spin-off to the successful X-Men film, “Logan.”

While the future for Marvel Studios seems bright, there are some Marvel TV shows that aren’t exactly soaring. I think what’s so hard about the Marvel Comic Universe is that all of these characters coexist in the comics, but when it comes to translating it onto screen, there is a fine line in film and television. All of the Marvel characters in the feature films are mentioned in the TV shows, but there is no connection between the film characters and the TV show characters. For example, in the TV show “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,” the Avengers are mentioned, but they are never featured. This makes it harder for viewers to establish a connection among the universe.

The disconnect has become especially prominent after the cancellation of a few Marvel TV shows. “Agent Carter” followed Peggy Carter during the early stages of Hydra and featured some snippets of her relationship with Captain America. In the movies, Peggy had a significant role, but in the TV show, Captain America never had a role and was hardly mentioned. Shows like “Agent Carter” and “Inhumans” had the potential to be great, but they failed to show the relationship with the rest of the MCU.

Netflix even decided to produce some Marvel TV shows as their originals, such as “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones,” both of which have strong ratings. Unfortunately, their strong effort to tell the stories of certain Marvel characters fizzled out; they just weren’t sustainable on their own. In fact, in the past year, Netflix cancelled “Luke Cage” after two seasons and “Iron Fist” after one.

In order to attract a newer generation of fans, some Marvel TV shows have been geared toward a young adult audience. The Hulu original “Runaways” follows a group of teens who all discover that they have powers. They use their powers to fight off their biggest enemies — their parents. Along with “Runaways,” “The Gifted” and “Cloak and Dagger” were all renewed for a new season this past year.

While fans are waiting for these new seasons, many are excited for finale of the current generation of MCU characters, “Avengers 4.” Even creator Stan Lee never anticipated for the saga to continue as long as it has. After years of films and a deep analysis, some fans believe that a few characters won’t be returning to the MCU after the next “Avengers” film. Captain America seems to be the most likely get killed off, after a tweet from Chris Evans himself, saying that it’s been quite the journey. Iron Man is another character who also has the potential of dying in the next film. There is no doubt that this next film will be a tear-jerker for some, especially since it’s the last time that Stan Lee will ever be on screen.

Marvel Studios is one of a kind; they have so many characters intertwined into one cohesive universe. Looking back, it’s clear how much of an impact Lee had on the comic book and film industry. With some help, Stan Lee created characters that showed bravery, unity and hope. His work was the foundation of some of the best superhero films. And the best part was that he had no idea how much he meant to people.

His attitude towards his career was equally inspiring. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter he said, “When you retire, you have a chance to do all the things you’ve always wanted to do. I’ve been doing all the things I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve always wanted to be involved in entertaining people.”

Stan Lee not only created stories that many have come to love, but for me, his drive and passion is something that I hope to have one day.

Lee’s stories will continue to be told throughout all of films, TV shows and future comics. His purpose was to acknowledge and accommodate diversity in every aspect of the MCU. I have a feeling that Marvel Studios will be producing a lot of more colorful films in the near future, and it’s all thanks to Stan Lee, the real excelsior.

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