Fans are already elated but there's one dark cloud hanging over this news: last week's rumors also said that the Marvel side won't include any mutant characters, a staple of Capcom's superhero fighting games since they began with X-Men: Children of the Atom back in 1994.
Only two Marvel characters have been announced so far (Iron Man and Captain Marvel) so nothing is official, but the rumor seems plausible. All of Marvel's mutant characters (including The X-Men and Deadpool) are licensed to appear in movies owned by 20th Century Fox, which puts them in direct competition with Marvel's own "Cinematic Universe." This has led Marvel to spend less time and resources on promoting those characters in favor of so-called "Inhumans" who Marvel own outright. The same goes for The Fantastic Four and Doctor Doom, who are also licensed to Fox. For the sake of corporate synergy, all of these characters might be omitted from Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite.
However, if you're a Marvel vs Capcom fan I've got an important announcement: Don't Panic. Marvel's been in the superhero business for ages and has a deep bench of characters to call upon. I can name ten Marvel superstars that could easily make their debut in Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite with so much potential that you won't even miss Old What's-His-Name with the claws and cigars...Leghorn? "Old Leghorn," that's it.
Powers: Elasticity. Can embiggen herself to fight evil and shrink herself to go snooping.
I can hear you saying, "But wait, they already announced Captain Marvel!" Kamala Khan aka Ms. Marvel is her own person, though, a teenage girl from New Jersey who grew up idolizing the Captain until she discovered powers of her own. Ms. Marvel is one of the newest characters in the Marvel Universe, but her debut book in 2014 made the New York Times bestseller list and even won a Hugo Award. It didn't take her long for Kamala to fight alongside The Avengers both in the comics and on television. In Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite her stretchy-powers would give her lots of reach which is perfect because every Capcom fighting game should have at least one character with elastic limbs.
Miles Morales, Spider-Man
Powers: Does whatever a Spider can, plus invisibility and a stunning "sting" attack
If a new Marvel vs Capcom game is coming, you can bet on Spider-Man being in it. Spidey's been a constant in Capcom's VS series going all the way back to Marvel Super Heroes in 1995 (only Wolverine has more appearances). Taking that as a given, it would be great to see the Miles Morales version of the character in Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite. He wouldn't have to replace Peter Parker, he could be the Ken to Peter's Ryu, the War Machine to his Iron Man, the X-23 to his Wolverine. With DLC costumes you could even include the entire Spider-verse: Spider-Gwen, Silk, Spider-Woman, The Superior Spider-Man...look, are you saying you wouldn't buy a game called Capcom vs Spider-Man? Because I would.
Powers: Super-strength, martial-arts, pointy-teeth, 90's techno music
Eric Brooks aka Blade technically isn't part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but he practically spawned it. In 1998 (before Spider-Man, before X-Men, before even The Matrix) Blade headlined his own black-leather-and-kung-fu film and it did so well he got two sequels. Almost twenty years later, vampires are still in vogue, black leather never goes out of style, and 90s nostalgia is off the charts. Blade's monster-hunting skills would be a boon against Capcom's DarkStalker characters, not to mention the fact that every fighting game franchise loves swords. It's why MvC 3 had three Devil May Cry characters and Smash Bros had six (SIX!) from Fire Emblem. Bonus: given his recent trouble with the IRS, Capcom might be able to hire Wesley Snipes himself to reprise the role.
Powers: Super-strength, unbreakable skin, infinite supply of hoodies
Luke Cage aka Power Man started as a Blaxploitation riff in the 1970s and has been an icon ever since. The character is currently riding a wave of popularity following a starring role in two straight Netflix shows with a Defenders team-up series on the way. His longtime comic book partner Iron Fist got an invite to Marvel vs Capcom 3, so adding Luke already seems overdue. There's even a mutant-like role he can fill: Luke's resistance to damage makes him Juggernaut-like, so he could be a slow-moving grappler who takes hits but can't be stopped when he wants to get his hands on you.
Powers: Flight, Energy blasts, can shrink self
Janet Van Dyne aka Wasp got a raw deal. In the comics, she was a founding member of The Avengers (before Captain America was even awake) and she's been as pivotal figure in the Marvel Universe as her sometimes-husband, Dr. Hank Pym. But in the Marvel Cinematic Universe she's been all but forgotten. Ant-Man got his own film and Wasp was little more than a woman in a fridge that made Hank Pym feel bad. Wasp is coming back for the sequel though, and an appearance in Marvel vs Capcom Infinite could help remind modern audiences how cool she is. And MvC already has a legacy of teeny tiny fighters thanks to Servbot in MvC2.
Powers: Super-strength, flight, energy beams, no-clip mode
Vision aka The Vision has been a longtime member of the Avengers and has starred in his own comic book multiple times but has somehow never appeared in a Marvel vs Capcom game, though you might remember him from the Captain America and The Avengers arcade brawler in 1991. The character couldn't be more central to the Marvel Cinematic Universe right now: as Jarvis he was the backbone of every Iron Man movie, then as Vision he had an Infinity Stone implanted in his head. As uber-Macguffin across all of the MCU, the Infinity Stones are clearly a main gameplay point in Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite, given their appearance in both the announcement trailer and also in the title of the game itself. All this plus a great array of powers (who else can control their own density?) makes Vision an excellent choice.
Powers: Magic or psychic, depending on which version you choose
Wanda Maximoff aka Scarlet Witch is technically a mutant but she's also not a mutant thanks to a Hollywood compromise, so putting her in Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite to replace mutants feels appropriate. She's been part of the X-Men and the Avengers and even had kids with the android Vision (videogames need more moms right now). Her psychic and telekinetic powers make her a bit like Phoenix or Psylocke, both stars of past MvC games who are presumably now off the table. Alternatively, she could embrace her magical roots and cast "hexes" that mess with opponent's abilities. She's whoever Capcom wants her to be, and Capcom would love that freedom.
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl
Powers: Squirrel agility, squirrel vision, squirrel communication, squirrel tail
Doreen Green aka Squirrel Girl is a self-described callipygian superhero with genetic squirrel powers that make her "medically and legally distinct from being a mutant" so she's a perfect fit for Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite. Following in the wake of Tron Bonne and her army of Servbots, Squirrel Girl is an easy choice: just replace Tron's tiny robots with a scurry of squirrels (although the squirrels have been known to "borrow" Iron Man's suit on occasion). The only drawback to adding Squirrel Girl is deciding how to water down her powers: she is literally unbeatable in the comics, having outwitted the likes of Doctor Doom and Galactus.
Powers: giant wooden body, shapeshifting, regeneration, a rich vocabulary
He is Groot, sentient tree and breakout star of Guardians of the Galaxy who won audiences over with three simple words (repeated ad-nauseum). Tall, lumbering, and capable of transformation, Groot would be an ideal replacement for Sentinel in Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite who is likely to be disqualified due to his hatred of mutants being his defining characteristic. Groot's running buddy Rocket Raccoon was already a featured fighter in the last Marvel vs Capcom game, and that was before the 2014 Guardians of the Galaxy film made them household names. Whose turn is now? It is Groot's.
Howard the Duck
Powers: Quack-fu, cigar smoke, social satire
Howard the Duck aka Howard is a three-foot-tall talking duck with no superhuman (superduck?) abilities. His is a master of Quack-fu (that's canon, not a joke I just made up) and his sense of humor and choice of cigars would help make up for no Deadpool or Wolverine. Precedent for animal combatants in Marvel vs Capcom already exists: both Amaterasu and Rocket Raccoon were playable in the last game. Howard is even fresh off a post-credits cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy! He once ran for President! He's the most perfect choice on this list!
Images courtesy of Marvel.com