Luke: It’s been a while since we did one of these theorizing and stipulation kind of articles.
Phil: And last time, it wasn’t exactly received well.
Luke: We kind of went out on a limb with our Hulk theories, with little basis for our thoughts other than comic book-related speculation, which shouldn’t be the name of the game here.
Phil: So you think we have some better legs to stand on this time aroudn?
Luke: Absolutely; FFG has shown some patterns in terms of how they are going about creating their content, tipping their hand as to what we should see for the rest of this year and beyond.
Phil: Bold claims; let’s see if you can back them up.
Luke: Even before the stream launched yesterday revealing the details for the semi-distant Red Skull expansion, I had a strong suspicion that what we would be seeing next is a series of character associated with S.H.I.E.L.D.
Phil: What made you think that?
Luke: Primarily some statements that were made on previous FFG streams; in the past, it had been stated that the Red Skull expansion will be both the end of the current “cycle” and the start of the new one. This mean there had to be a thematic through-line tying the two together.
Phil: It’s obvious at this point that what we’re currently in the midst of is the Avengers cycle.
Luke: Right, which makes sense in terms of having Hydra be a main adversary and 2 Avengers star as the new heroes.
Phil: But in terms of what the films have presented up until this point, Hydra is very tightly connected to S.H.I.E.L.D., regardless of how the comics present each.
Luke: Precisely, and it’s pretty clear at this point how a lot of influence is being pulled from the films and TV shows Disney is making (more on that later).
Phil: And now that you mention it, there’s a lot of cards that relate to S.H.I.E.L.D. in Marvel Champions. Like… a lot.
Luke: Basically anything that isn’t an ally in Leadership is somehow connected to that, many of the Basic cards are S.H.I.E.L.D. equipment or characters, Justice has tools like the Interrogation Room, and Protection has the Energy Barrier.
Phil: And Hawkeye and Spider-Woman are both closely related to S.H.I.E.L.D. as well.
Luke: Hawkeye, both in the comics and films, has worked with S.H.I.E.L.D. on a number of occasions, and Spider-Woman is very tightly related to the espionage end of the Marvel mythos, with her origin story springing out of her relationship with S.H.I.E.L.D.
Phil: So yes, we definitely have a good premise for why the next set of expansions would move in that direction. And now we have the silhouettes to work off of.
Luke: And I think I have a strong theory as to who each of them are that makes thematic sense and matches each sihouette closely.
Phil: Let’s not drag this out any longer; on to the first silhouette!
August: Baron Zemo
Luke: A lot of people are arguing over whether this is Zemo or Kang, with I initially siding with the latter camp. But the more I think about it, the more it makes sense that it would be Zemo who makes an appearance.
Phil: Kang is much more a Fantastic Four villain anyway, though I can see the physical likeness.
Luke: The tell-tale sign to me is the outstretched hand, a poise often held by Zemo has he casually sips on his various wines. This also ties in to the Hydra theme, obviously, continuing with the same villain focus as we move away from villains and towards heroes.
Phil: If it wasn’t for that upcoming film, I’m sure most people would say Iron Fist.
Luke: I would. But the timing is too perfect to be coincidental. Plus, Shang-Chi has a history with S.H.I.E.L.D., albeit brief, volunteering temporarily with the Secret Avengers, a team of covert operatives led by Captain America while he was the head of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Phil: Not a perfect match, but the Secret Avengers has grown more and more an extension of S.H.I.E.L.D. than a traditional superhero team, so it makes sense to me. The Shang-Chi film isn’t set to be released until next year, but we’ve seen Ms. Marvel and She-Hulk make their debuts here well before their shows will be released.
Luke: And frankly, Iron Fist just doesn’t make much sense in terms of the collection of characters on display here, as much as I would like to see him make an appearance.
Phil: Oh god, not another “character sitting at a desk” silhouette, and this one’s so much worse than Black Widow’s.
Luke: Yeah, this one is easily the biggest toss-up in terms of who it might be, but I think Wasp is a strong pick. She’s a powerful female figure who has worked with S.H.I.E.L.D. consistently, is technologically savvy and driven, and has shorter hair, which the profile of the silhouette suggests.
Phil: It’s a stretch, but I’d love to see her make an appearance.
November and December: Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch
Luke: This is a 2-for-1, but considering they’re twins, it just made better sense.
Phil: The hair lick, the nonchalant body posture, it all points to Quicksilver. And Wanda sitting back reading a book with long, curly hair; it makes a lot of sense.
Luke: And the TV show WandaVision, which will most definitely feature Quicksilver as a side character, will launch in, you guessed it, December of 2020, lining up perfectly with these characters making their appearances.
Phil: But how are they related to S.H.I.E.L.D.?
Luke: True, they have been members of the Brotherhood of Mutants and the Avengers most prominently, but in the Ultimate Marvel end of things (where Miles Morales was introduced), they were both agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. This may seem like a stretch to some, but we basically know at this point from some suggestions on streams that Miles will be making his way into Marvel Champions at some point.
Phil: And also it just makes a ton of sense in terms of the character’s popularity.
Luke: Yeah, but that means FFG isn’t afraid of pulling from that influence in terms of the thematic connection.
Phil: I think you’re reading into this a little too deeply, dude.
Luke: Maybe, but I think it’s still a strong foundation to be pulling from.
January 2021: The Brotherhood of Mutants
Phil: Wait, I thought you said we were working off of some basis of fact.
Luke: Hear me out; if Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are the last 2 characters to be released (easily the 2 silhouettes I’m most confident on), it makes a ton of sense for the next big box expansion to come out to be The Brotherhood of Mutants. It’s where they originally appeared and will act as a great bridge between the S.H.I.E.L.D.-related Avengers and the next cycle.
Phil: Don’t tell me; you think that after that comes-
February 2021: The X-Men Cycle Begins
Luke: Players have been begging for it (myself included), and if we’re going to release 2 mutant characters one after the other at the end of the cycle, it’s clear that FFG is gearing up for mutants to join the fray.
Phil: It’s stretch… but it makes enough sense that it could be true.
Luke: Unfortunately, all we can do at this point is wait.
Phil: We already have to wait to get our hands on Black Widow, let alone any future content for the foreseeable future.
Luke: For now, but let’s not forget we already have a ton of fun content on our hands to toy with. I certainly haven’t tired out the current selection of heroes. And if you really want some new stuff, Black Widow and Dr. Strange are up on Tabletop Simulator, fully playable, since each of those decks have been leaked.
Phil: For as much as things are hard for a lot of people right now, we’re lucky in terms of the tools we have access to that allow us to continue to enjoy our favorite pastimes despite all the obstacles that stand in our way.
Luke: Too true. Hopefully, folks who have been reading along have gotten something out of all of this as well, and we hope that you’re taking the time to play some games, either solo or online, and to take care of themselves. There’s never been a better time for self-care than right now.
Phil: Thanks for humoring our crazy theories; we’ll see you next week!