This article contains Loki spoilers
The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s expansion never seems to end. There are constant rumors surrounding the latest heroes and villains that might join the ever-growing line-up and each one is as exciting as the last. While not all of them pay off, every now and then there’s a nugget of information that could hint to the future of Marvel Studios’ plans.
One such rumor could have major implications for a conflict that fans have always wanted on the big screen. While the Avengers vs. the Justice League is likely never to happen, there are ways around the obvious studio problems that would normally get in the way of the dream match, and there are signs that suggest Marvel Studios could copy from the comics in order to get the fight that audiences are waiting for while also tackling the perceived notion that the MCU has become quaint in comparison to Prime Video’s satirical and violent The Boys.
Squadron Supreme Rumors
The rumor mill is always buzzing, but the concept that the Squadron Supreme might be making their way to the MCU has begun to pick up traction. It’s to be taken with a big grain of salt, but sites like CineStealth have noted that big plans are in place for the group. Most notably, the rumors indicate that not only will the team be established in a similar manner to the comics, but their presentation will take inspiration from The Boys.
Needless to say, that gritty and political approach, combined with shocking and over the top moments and topical humor, could really allow the Squadron to stand out in comparison to the other superhero units at Marvel. The success of The Boys is also something that the MCU could ironically benefit from, allowing the studio to access the meta market as audiences look for a more realistic approach to storytelling that isn’t afraid to point out the flaws of the genre. It’s better to be in on the joke and capitalizing on the consequences than trailing behind and ignoring the essential point that the very existence of The Boys attempts to make! Plus, there’s something quite innovative and fresh about the style of the Prime series that could rejuvenate some of Marvel’s familiar tropes. But how do the Squadron Supreme fit that mold so well for Marvel?
The Origins of the Squadron Supreme
Often referred to as the Squadron Supreme of America, the group were an initial spinoff of the Squadron Sinister, who fought Earth’s mightiest heroes in The Avengers #69, which was released in 1963. It wasn’t until 1971 that the Squadron Supreme themselves would make their debut in #85 and #86 of The Avengers. Roy Thomas and John Buscema would get the credit for creating the unit, who would enjoy sporadic cameos before gaining their own limited run in 1985.
While they don’t boast that early Sinister name, the team have been portrayed as darker reflections of a range of familiar comic book heroes, sometimes masquerading as do-gooders. That’s a concept that hasn’t been touched upon in the MCU (yet) but it has set the tone for The Boys very well.
It was the Multiverse that first introduced the Squadron Supreme, with the group defending Earth-712 much in the same way that the Avengers protected Earth-616. But that wouldn’t be the only iteration of the Squadron featured over the years. In fact, multiple variations of the team have made their way to the page, often from completely different realities. Each time their roster might shift slightly, but what’s more important for their MCU future is that their goals have become corrupted in more recent interpretations.
Often hailing from Rocket Central in Squadron City, there are seven founding members of the team which have usually been associated with the Squadron in most variations. The water-based Amphibian provides an aquatic angle for the team. Doctor Spectrum is the cosmic hero that channels the abilities of the Power Prism. Hyperion, often classed as the leader of the group, is an overpowered force of nature and usually an Eternal. Nighthawk is a human vigilante with streel-level skills, while Power Princess is a Utopian warrior with infinite potential. Skrullian Skymaster is a shape-shifting Skrull with more advanced capabilities, and the Whizzer is the speedster of the group.
There are certainly parallels to be made between those creations and some of the most prominent figures in the conventional Marvel Universe, but for those paying attention, there’s an even more absurd connection to be made.
In truth, the Squadron Supreme were actually crafted as a reflection of the Justice League. Each of the original members were carefully chosen to rip off one of the most famous teammates of DC’s premium unit. It allowed for a story that saw the Justice League and The Avengers do battle without those comic book universes ever truly crossing over.
Amphibian is their Aquaman, while Doctor Spectrum represents Green Lantern. Hyperion is the Superman of the group, and Nighthawk is their Batman. Power Princess and Skrullian Skymaster symbolise Wonder Woman and Martian Manhunter respectively, with Whizzer’s version of The Flash rounding out the team. Each of the power sets DC’s unit were so well known for were covered in some capacity, which also differentiated well with some of the Avengers’ diverse figures, from Captain America to Iron Man and Black Widow.
It’s a concept that The Boys has also found much success with: creating a team that mocks the creations of both the DC and Marvel Universe. It’s hard to look at The Deep, for instance, without comparisons to Aquaman or Namor, while Homelander is an obvious ode to Superman. Each iteration is twisted when contrasted to the originals, mimicking but never outright copying.
The Squadron Supreme might have started off as heroic, but the notion that Marvel could create an evil Justice League meant that later interpretations were corrupted in order to cause further conflict with the Earth’s mightiest heroes of 616. Interestingly, a recent narrative in Marvel Comics actually made the Squadron Supreme more relevant than ever for the mainline universe.
The Heroes Reborn arc completely rewrote what audiences were familiar with when it came to Earth-616. Agent Coulson, under the influence of Mephisto, sought to create a world that he could control using the Cosmic Cube. The Avengers were removed from existence and replaced with the Squadron Supreme, whose objectives met far closer with Coulson’s own. They were enforcers in many ways, manipulated from afar to do the bidding of those who shaped their world.
It was a story that saw the Squadron brought into the main universe at its conclusion, but one that also focused on them as fascist leaders, ensuring that their forceful regime kept the powerless citizens in line. There are certainly further comparisons to be made between this team and The Boys here.
Loki Season 2
Among the aforementioned rumors, there’s also a suggestion of what role the Squadron Supreme could play within the context of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Their debut may just come from a Multiversal adventure, just like their initial origins in the comics, but it’s thought that Loki Season 2 will be the first place they show up.
What’s more, there is some speculation that they are actually the enforcers of Kang the Conqueror – a force to be reckoned with that keeps the balance in his versions of the timelines. That would line up with how the Squadron Supreme were utilized in Heroes Reborn, but with a powerful new force in Kang pulling the strings. Season one of Loki concluded with the shocking revelation that Kang himself is already controlling the Time Variance Authority, confirmed by a daunting statue that shadowed the Asgardian God. With his regime in place, could it be that he already uses the Squadron to carry out his desires in the current timeline?
Casting the Team
When looking to cast the Squadron Supreme in the MCU, there are a couple of different directions that Marvel could go in. There is absolutely an opportunity here to play into the nonsense of the Multiverse and actually tick off a few fan castings along the way. In what might be a tongue-in-cheek move, Disney and Marvel could choose some familiar faces for the line-up.
The same sources that suggest the Squadron Supreme are arriving in Loki also note that Henry Cavill is being eyed for Hyperion. That’s not a new idea either, with years of speculation concerning Cavill’s potential role in this superhero landscape as Captain Britain or the Superman rip off.
Of course, casting Cavill as Hyperion opens the door to so many other brilliant choices. Grant Gustin as Whizzer, Gal Gadot as Power Princess and perhaps even hilariously Ryan Reynolds as Doctor Spectrum might be the sort of casting that can take this concept to the next level.
Potential MCU Future
If the Squadron Supreme were to be brought in alongside the most sinister iteration of Kang, what does that mean for their future within the MCU? Chances are, they could serve as muscle throughout his time as the next big bad of the upcoming phases. The Avengers are going to need someone to punch, and luckily the Squadron can fill in for Kang on that front.
Marvel have so often used villains that are reflections of the Earth’s mightiest heroes themselves, or perhaps relied upon huge faceless armies of robots and aliens. The Squadron Supreme pose a different kind of threat, teasing a universe that could one day take hold if the superheroes turn to a more dominating way of keeping the peace. It’s a smart choice to introduce the Multiversal team, but their role should certainly go beyond just Loki.
Avengers Vs. Justice League
The most notable aspect of this rumor is that this could be a way for Marvel to finally have the Avengers face the Justice League on the big screen. It’s an unofficial way of getting to that battle, but it’s one that still fits perfectly within the story being told while paying off expectations from fans. Marvel are looking to top Avengers: Endgame, and while faces from the Multiverse are definitely going to aid that, no one would be expecting this timeless struggle between comic book companies to play out!
It might be a gamble, but if there was ever a way for Henry Cavill’s Superman to face down Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel, or perhaps Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman battling Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, then this is an unconventional way to achieve that while simultaneously addressing the popularity of skewering superhero satire like The Boys.