In October 2014, Marvel Studios announced a Phase Three slate that concluded just this year, not with Avengers: Endgame -- or Avengers: Infinity War Part II, as it was then known -- but with a late addition, Spider-Man: Far From Home. The two Spider-Man movies and Ant-Man and The Wasp weren't part of that original lineup, which also included two titles that failed to materialize: the consigned-to-television Inhumans, and Captain America: Serpent Society. Allow us to explain about the latter.
Anticipation for Serpent Society was permitted to bubble for approximately one hour, before it was revealed to be a fake-out: The third Captain America movie would instead be Captain America: Civil War, loosely adapted from the Marvel Comics storyline that, unlike Serpent Society, fans were aching to see on the big screen.
So it was only a joke. But now that the dust has settled (literally or otherwise) from the Infinity Saga, Marvel's sprawling and relaxed Phase Four slates gives the opportunity to ask: Where's our snake-themed entertainment?
For the uninitiated, the Serpent Society is Marvel comics is a team of snake-themed supervillains. And, yes, before you ask, there are enough such villains populating the Marvel Universe to fill out the membership: Sidewinder, Anaconda, Asp, Diamondback, Princess Python, et al. The original incarnation of the team debut in 1985 in Captain America, and occasionally created problems in the comics for the Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D. and even the X-Men, so made a certain degree of sense that the Serpent Society might menace Steve Rogers on the big screen, even if it might be difficult to envision some of its members in live action.
Already smarting from Mahershala Ali's Luke Cage antagonist Cottonmouth potentially being rendered non-canon, longtime snake stans (and Sebastian Stan stans) would like something more than lip service from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In particular, the upcoming What If...? animated series gives a perfect opportunity to explore an alternate universe in which the events of Age of Ultron led to an attack by a group of snake-themed supervillains rather than a schism within the Avengers' ranks. Maybe the group of criminals, sensing the Avengers' relative weakness after the events in Sokovia, could pitch themselves as a Thunderbolts- or Dark Avengers-style group of ostensible heroes, secretly using their status for villainous purposes.
The Serpent Society is no stranger to animation, having appeared on Disney XD's The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, and on Toei's Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers, so why not follow through with the 2014 joke and bring the team of villains into the MCU, even if it is only as part of What If...?
The new Disney+ animated series will use classic MCU voice actors when possible, which means we really could get a confrontation between the Serpent Society and Captain America (whether voiced by Chris Evans or Anthony Mackie), or a S.H.I.E.L.D. led by Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury.
Kevin Feige, if you're reading this, please throw fans a bone while we wait for Phase Five's inevitable Avengers: Zodiac Cartel.