casThe next phase in movies based on Marvel Comics is about to begin. And it might just be a completely mediocre phase.

There has been a lot of talk about Marvel and Paramount Pictures getting into bed together, and by the time you’re reading this over your morning coffee, it will be official. The studio will market and promote new Marvel movies based on a bevy of lukewarmly liked characters, including Nick Fury, Black Panther, Ant-Man, Cloak & Dagger, Dr. Strange, Hawkeye, Power Pack and Shang-Chi. Now if this was the late 90s and these were the pogs you got stuck with, you’d be pissed. But no worries – Captain America and the Avengers are also going to be seeing movie life.

What’s happened is that the company once known as Marvel Enterprises is becoming Marvel Entertainment, and has secured over 500 million in loans to begin producing their own movies. That’s right, Avi Arad will now control the destinies of many of your favorite Marvel characters in cinema. Once the options with other studios lapse, that is.

These ten properties were announced because they’re collateral for the loan Marvel secured. But Avi isn’t worried about handing over Captain America’s film future to Merrill Lynch: "Trust me," he said. "I’ve protected this universe with my life."

Avi will begin assigning screenwriters to these projects as early as Wednesday, but he won’t say for sure which film will hit theaters first. "No character before its time. The scripts will dictate which is first," Arad said, adding, "I cannot wait to tell Captain America’s story. It’s a doozy of a story."

This is pretty major for Marvel, as they will now be getting the lion’s share of the profits from their movies, as opposed to how things are with current partners like Sony, who still has Spider-Man. And this also opens up a future where when fanboys dream about cross-overs, they cannot be immediately shut down with the information that separate studios own the separate characters. We’ll have to just go back to “That’s stupid.”

Demand that Power Pack be R-rated on our message board!