After 1.5 weeks of binge-watching MCU movies in preparation for Infinity War, the author of this article has convinced himself that he now knows how to write an MCU Origin Story, and here's how.
THE MAIN CHARACTER:
You must build your MC with six mandatory golden ingredients: abs. Add a dash of good looks and some more muscles everywhere. After this you can go on a few different combinations of character, some common ones being:
1) Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist and workaholic. Assuming you consider sarcasm and wit to be “Chemical X”, you're allowed to pull a Professor Utonium and accidentally add the entire ingredient to the concoction.
2) Relatively silent, brooding and “not properly a part of modern society”. This often comes with just a pinch of “cripes, I (temporarily) lost everything I love”, which may lead them to become stubborn or short-tempered, but ultimately, they're the ones with the good heart.
3) Genius, middle-class, wannabe playboy and excellent at the job they do. This is the younger brother of “1”, and while they do have some quips in store, they're mostly shy, unsure and are the likeliest to have the Uncle Ben backstory skimmed over in their movie.
Now, for the most exciting ingredient: their powers. While we initially started off with some unrealistic science mumbo-jumbo, our shelf now includes Norse Gods, the ingestion of third-party nature-based things, being exposed to a radiation source and “mystical arts” which, really, is just a fancier way of saying “lol it's magic”. Add any of these in a non-overpowering order, and you're good.
THE SUPPORTING CAST:
Most supporting casts in origin stories contain:
1) One teaspoon of “romantic interest”, who often ends up being M.C.'s sidekick. You could give them superpowers, but they're usually solely the more 'relatable brainy type'. They remind us that it's okay if we don't have the capacity to become a thermonuclear astrophysicist within a night.
2) Actual sidekicks, from a couple of ounces to a ton. Here, I'm talking about weight in terms of their importance. They can last beyond the origin story, or you can mention their name only once in the hopes that no one remembers these severely underdeveloped characters.
3) A tablespoon of “that one mentor dude”. This is optional, as MC could always be his own man. This person doesn't have to only teach MC about his powers; it could also be other stuff, such as teaching them (dumb) inspirational things like “with great power comes great responsibility”. Strange, I can't seem to remember who said that line.
THE MAIN VILLAIN:
The existence of the MV is almost always the MC or his mentor's fault. Now, add a few pounds of “I'm a boring, one-directional character who refuses to see what's wrong about my goal, despite someone else having irrefutable logic and knowledge as to why I shouldn't go down this road, thereby ultimately leading to my own predictable demise. Oh, and I plagiarised their powers.” There. You're good to go.
Act 1 – Add your ingredients. You will notice that MC's life is either great and then falling into shambles, or just falling into shambles. This change will be faster than Loki switching sides, and will lead to MC discovering his powers, his mentor, the “subtle” love interest, the MV, along with a very sinister (and badly-explained) plot in the making. Like, literally, we'll probably be making it up as we go along. After letting your concoction simmer, you'll hit the first plot-point where our MC will really get into this new life of his and shed his old skin.
Act 2 – Stir. With difficulty, our hero does his best to figure out how his power works. Luck is bestowed upon him in copious amounts because despite the fact that he probably should have lost a limb or something by now, he hasn't. The story gradually builds up, with the mentor, love interest and MC's expendable friends getting more screen time. MV will appear sometimes, but it will solely be for all the cliché and angry one-liners, and trying to get his sinister plot to work out, despite its various plot-holes. We hit the second plot-point where MC faces off MV in either an epic battle or a subtle power-play. Unfortunately, this is where the hubris of MC's luck pulls a “here come dat boy” and MC and his gang will lose.
Act 3 – Add in the final touches. You must add one drop of “nearly instant recovery for MC and his gang”, and one drop of “despite the MC taking an entire act to master his powers, I, the MV, will inexplicably have learned everything so that an epic battle may ensue”. After recovery, said epic battle will ensue, the government will fall into debt due to massive amounts of collateral damage, MV will obviously lose, and everyone lives happily ever after. The end, until you let everyone know whether or not your hero will be back for an overhyped but ultimately disappointing sequel.
Rasheed Khan is a hug monster making good music but terrible puns and jokes where he's probably the only one laughing. Ask him how to pronounce his name at firstname.lastname@example.org